For someone who is responsible for the legacy of Philippine Contemporary Printmaking, Manuel Rodriguez Sr. has to be one of the most underrated artists in the modernist period. His extensive campaign on printmaking alone developed a new generation of printmakers. So much that Purita Kalaw Ledesma, Founder of Art Association of the Philippines affirmed the fact "that the graphic arts became a major art form in the Philippines in only 25 years maybe attributed to the work of one man, Manuel Rodriguez Sr."

After the end of the war years in Manila, Manuel Rodriguez or often addressed as Mang Maning made his mark to different currents of modernism. His paintings depicted scenes of Philippine life in a distinct style and were often immersed in bright colors of the tropics; similar elements were also evident in his prints.

His presence in the Philippines was mostly felt from the 1950’s to the 1970’s prior to his move to New York when the country was under Martial Law. Before that he had conducted printmaking workshop and mounted exhibitions in an effort to inspire a community of artists.

His New York relocation allowed him to continue the unique type of art that he had honed. Soon his subjects developed from rural scenes of Phillipine Madonnas and child on a carabao. He also acquired a taste for abstractions resulting in a period that is considered seminal for the artist’s body of work. He had done a series of New York Street life and important building landmarks that soon evolved to be his own brush stroke technique. In particular, there are three oil on canvas works that are now considered museum pieces – Sampaguita, Dance of Life, and the Juggler. The first two artworks were painted in 1961 in Boston. The most current of his paintings is the Juggler painted in New York in 2006. This technique termed "Color Vibrations" is a style considered abstract impressionistic realism.

Carousel – Black & White Etchin

Sabong – Colour Etching

Pabitin – Colour Etching

 

In this exhibition, GJ Asian Art is proud to present a collection of the artist’s limited prints and a few of his rare and brilliant canvas works, including the Juggler. The 96 years old distinguished artist was awarded the Presidential Merit Award, one of the highest honours in the Philippines, in 2007 for his contribution to the visual arts.



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