Arts and Culture

Edwin Wilwayco nocturnes and all that jazz

ARTMAGEDDON - Igan D’Bayan - The Philippine Star
Edwin Wilwayco nocturnes and all that jazz
“As my paintings evolve, I am evolving with them,” says Edwin Wilwayco. “Every series is a new discovery and I am constantly learning with every stroke.”

For his latest opus inspired by jazz (as well as his beloved classical music), did abstractionist Edwin Wilwayco start with a specific motif and amplified it, improvising as he went along, stretching and stretching until finally recapitulating by going back to the motif — just like in the music of Miles, Brubeck and all the greats at Impulse, Blue Note and ECM?

“I always start my work with a prayer before I begin,” he answers, “then I start playing music and then I let the colors find their own rhythm and interactions within the canvas.”

The music comes from compact discs and a stereo system powered by Bose 901s for, according to the artist, “a full audio immersive experience.” What’s on the canvas is an invitation to dig, to discover and to go for deep doses of introspection.

For “Jazz/Nocturne Interlude,” two back-to-back shows by Edwin Wilwayco currently on view at Galerie Joaquin One Bonifacio High Street, jazz took ahold of the artist, who has paid homage to Vivaldi and Bach in previous exhibitions. Dave Brubeck’s Take Five set things swinging. It prompted Wilwayco to deviate from his usually bright, colorful palettes and instead utilize more blacks, whites and muted earth tones. Also serving as his painting session soundtrack were CDs by McCoy Tyner, Andre Previn, Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis, Nathan East, Pat Metheny, Joe Pass, Ray Brown, Ahmad Jamal, Oscar Peterson and Chick Corea.

“Nocturne Interlude No. 13”

The paintings — all 13 of them — were directly inspired by the structures of jazz and classical music. To a mere spectator, it may seem impossible to create a fusion of what Wilwayco refers to as “the (common) properties of musical sound and paint.” He shares, “It’s so powerful that sometimes, I wonder if art is using me to reproduce itself.”

According to the gallery statement, “The pieces, which are indeed powerful, do speak for themselves: through a symphony of textures and tones, in variations of movement, flow and contrast, each stroke suggesting an emotional arc, or perhaps a crescendo or improvisation, that moved the artist while he was at work.” The muse was on fire during those days; the joint was cookin’.

“Jazz musicians and abstractionists are the same because art is an exploration of emotions. The key difference is the audience setting,” explains Wilwayco. Yeah, no one applauds after an artist finishes a painting in his studio — except if the artist were Andy Warhol.

We ask Edwin what statement he is trying to make with jazz exploration and its abstract extension in an era where many are gravitating toward heavily processed, inorganic sounds as well as instant digital, visual gratification.

“I view my paintings as a discovery and I invite everyone to come and find and draw their own connections to my work,” responds the artist whose abstracts are ideal for a sort of courageous contemplation of one’s state of mind, state of being. Whatever you get from gazing at a Wilwayco, well, it’s all you.

“Jazz Interlude No. 6” by Edwin Wilwayco

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“Edwin Wilwayco: Jazz/Nocturne Interlude” will be the very first exhibit currently on view at the recently opened Galerie Joaquin on the upper ground floor of One Bonifacio High Street Mall, 5th Ave., corner 28th St., BGC, Taguig. The artist’s reception is on Dec. 1. For information, call or SMS 0917-5343942, or email [email protected]

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