July 23, 2024

Jonathan Olazo exhibits new works in “There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars” at BenCab Museum’s Gallery Indigo.

Olazo draws inspiration from Jack Kerouac’s quote which is appropriated as the exhibition’s title.

In this exhibit, he revisits works and techniques he has explored in his life, as well as exploring new ones he has worked on recently: impasto paintings, rubber cut prints, pen works, gestural works, hybrids (with silkscreen). These come together expressing his present state and observations of himself.

Olazo has held solo-exhibitions since 1986, and this is his first at the BenCab Museum. His work has been described as forward thinking and experimental yet grounded in abstract painting concepts.

He is one of the recipients of the Cultural Center of the Philippines Thirteen Artists Awards in 1994.

His interest in art began when he took up printmaking in high school, which was taught by his father, Romulo. 

Jonathan graduated with a degree in Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines and later taught as a part-time lecturer at the same university. He is married to Lyn Yusi and has two children, Zachary and Odilon Pablo.

The exhibit is on view until July 28.

There will also be an exhibit of the nude drawings of the late Romulo Olazo.

The “Olazo Nudes: The secret body of abstraction” features 35 drawings done in charcoal and pastel culled from 1975 to 1985 – a period considered as the artist’s most active years in drawing. A notable inclusion is Olazo’s life-size drawing, Thelma, which was originally part of Olazo Nudes, his first and only exhibition on the said theme at the Galerie Dominique in 1978. This marks a celebratory revisit of one of Olazo’s favorite themes.

Olazo was born in Balayan, Batangas on July 21, 1934. His family moved to Manila where he supported himself and his family as a working student, taking up Fine Arts at the University of Santo Tomas. He initially pursued a career in advertising, eventually becoming a creative director. At age 40, he decided to go full-time as an artist.

His abstract paintings have been exhibited extensively here and abroad, culminating with an artist’s retrospective exhibition at the Ayala Museum in 2009.

A posthumous and thematic survey of his large abstract paintings at the Main Gallery of the CCP was held in 2017.

Adjudged by art critics and peers as a prolific and gifted draftsman, Olazo drew inspiration from the nude female form, as the exhibition title offers.

He passed away in 2015, and survived by his children and grandchildren.

“Olazo Nudes: The Secret Body of Abstraction” is on view until July 7 at BenCab Museum’s Sepia Gallery. – Viña Tandoc