Gig De Pio & the beauty of chaos in abstraction
“Flip (2 Sides)” by Gig De Pio, Rustan’s For The Arts featured artist Gig De Pio; Zenaida “Nedy” Tantoco, Rustan Group of Companies chairman and CEO; and Marilen Tantoco, Rustan’s VP for merchandising-home division
Geremy Pintolo

Gig De Pio & the beauty of chaos in abstraction

Igan D’Bayan (The Philippine Star) - February 3, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — We are in the Home section of Rustan’s Department Store and artist Gig De Pio is talking about entropy.

The paintings on view in his “Flourishing” exhibition (which is part of Rustan’s For The Arts initiative) are the result of what the artist describes as finding beauty in the “gestalt of chaos.” De Pio says the works are about entropy and the gradual decline into disorder — “everything will end, all systems will die.” But the artist imagines the profound moment of creation.

“When God the Father said ‘Let there be light!” — that’s the Big Bang right there. But from creation, there is also the start of death.” And De Pio has been obsessed with the Second Law of Thermodynamics ever since he took up Physics 101 at the University of the Philippines (UP) long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. He characterizes the experience as “mind-blowing.”

The artist shares, “Kaya natigil sina Marcel Duchamp kasi dulo na ‘yun. Sina John Cage and Jean Arp and their Law of Chance. I still love doing portraits, but these abstracts are different. It’s big talk, yes, but it’s the truth. My abstract paintings are but a small slice.”

Gig De Pio’s style of portraiture is characterized by art critic Cid Reyes as “etherialism,” and he marvels at how De Pio has invested heavy subjects (“Entropy/Gestalt”) into his abstract swirls and swathes.

“Flourishing: A Celebration of Creativity” is on view at Rustan’s Makati until March 31, and will move to Rustan’s Shangri-La in April.

The artist describes his collection as an appreciative view of the universe. “It is a matter of perception and where point of reference is; just a matter of finding gestalt in the random of things and events around the perceiver,” he says. His abstracts on display illustrate the randomness of occurrences and encounters at intersections, which may happen repeatedly to become events.

Among his mentors were National Artist Napoleon Abueva who was his professor for sculpture, National Artist Vicente Manansala whom he assisted for the mural at the Coconut Planters Bank building, and Jose Joya whom he assisted for the mural at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). De Pio has mounted several successful shows including a solo gig at The Crucible. Several of his latest works were created specifically for the Rustan’s For The Arts.

The series was started four years ago by Zenaida “Nedy” Tantoco, Rustan Group of Companies chairman and CEO, to bring art closer to the people.

“We want to make Filipino art accessible to more Filipinos,” explains Tantoco.   Rustan’s For The Arts has featured the works of National Artists such as Fernando Amorsolo, BenCab and Arturo Luz, as well as celebrated ones such as Anita Magsaysay-Ho, Al Perez and Paulina Luz Sotto. Nedy continues, “The artworks are expensive — especially those of our National Artists and modern masters. But if you put the images on a nice lacquer box, throw pillow or plate, you are giving more people the chance to bring home these iconic images in truly affordable prices. The goal is to give Filipino art a wider audience.”

Marilen Tantoco, Rustan’s VP for merchandising-home division, likes Gig De Pio’s art so much that she herself bought three paintings.

“I love modern and contemporary art — my house is very modern. We chose Gig De Pio (for Rustan’s For The Arts’ first offering for 2020) and we have been pleasantly surprised because he has such a large following.” Both Nedy and Marilen point out the visual synchronicity of Gig’s work with that of Jose Joya’s,

“Marilen likes modern art, while I go for the more traditional,” concludes Nedy. But both ladies laud Gig’s evocative abstracts and the colors of chaos.



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For information on Rustan’s For The Arts and other projects, visit or follow @rustansph on Instagram or Facebook.

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