The Cultural Center of the Philippines in cooperation with the CMa Bernardo Foundation for Fine Arts, Inc.
DATE/ TIME/ VENUE:
Opening reception: 20 November 2014, Thursday, 6pm
20 November 2014 to 15 February 2015
Bulwagang Juan Luna (Main Gallery) and Bulwagang Fernando Amorsolo (Small Gallery)
Mounted on Constancio Bernardo’s 101st birth anniversary, the retrospective in two simultaneous venues at the CCP Bulwagang Juan Luna (Main Gallery) and Bulwagang Fernando Amorsolo (Small Gallery) showcases around eighty-five select pieces representing the artist’s broad concerns over a period of half a century.
Known mainly as a geometric abstractionist, Constancio Ma. Anastacio Bernardo (1913-2003) quietly produced an extensive yet diverse body of works. The Constancio Ma. Bernardo Catalogue Raisonné 1999-2001 undertaken by eldest son Angelo with funding from the Ayala Foundation documents 16 volumes of paintings and drawings. They range from his academic nudes, portraits, landscapes, and still lifes done as a student at the University of the Philippines School of Fine Arts (UP SFA) to his further explorations in various painterly techniques, materials and theories.
Included are large-scale pieces previously exhibited in the artist’s major shows at the CCP, Luz Gallery, and the defunct Museum of Philippine Art (MOPA), among others. Exemplifying his various series of abstractions, many of these works are shown together here for the first time.
The retrospective also includes the 1977 acrylic Transmutation VI donated to the MOPA and the 1973 acrylic ensemble Light, Twilight, and Night donated to the CCP. The three-piece ensemble is displayed beside his changing self-portraits through the years. Such juxtaposition in this retrospective introduces the many phases and faces of Bernardo’s art.
Bernardo personified the struggle of reconciling Philippine modernism—particularly the abstract geometric variety—with the still normative academic and figurative art of the mid-twentieth-century. Trained variously under the conservative UP SFA and then in the modernist abstraction at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, he has been often defined in relation to these seemingly dichotomous influences.
A more contemporaneous approach is perhaps to rethink of influences as appropriations. Such strategy emphasizes the artist’s efforts to shape his own identity, which as these transmutations in his life and works unmask, is not fixed but fluid, as if in perpetual motion.