Highlighting Filipino Elegance

Dominic Rubio and his ‘Road Trip’ painting.

Growing up in bucolic Paete, the country’s woodcarving capital, instilled in visual artist Dominic Rubio a sense of Filipino identity.

The rustic atmosphere of his childhood and early youth, though, would not completely engulf his very essence.

Instead, he looked beyond home and the usual faces and looks and dreamt of the ideal Filipino — man, woman, child.



His horizon would widen when he pursued his Fine Arts degree at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, opening his eyes to various realities and possibilities.

Yet, he chose to get off from the vehicle that would take him on a perennial journey of growth and exploration, as it were and transplanted himself in an era that fascinated him.

He has since taken root in this environment of gracious living and style.

The result is inclusive elegance, each of his subjects well-dressed, good-looking in their own way, and living in a milieu of Filipino posh or abundance.

Don’t think Forbes Park or the New Manila of the old rich, though the subject may have come from either enclave of the well-born and those who have risen in life.

Dominic Rubio and his ‘Road Trip’ painting.

Think instead of the Hispanic period,

where there might

have been inequality manifested in all forms of slavery and ignorance, except that Rubio chose to gloss over certain realities.

If only for the purpose of his intended art. And because he is hopeful and perhaps, is trying to be prophetic.

What Rubio succeeds at is to give us, viewers and beholders of his sculptures and paintings, a sense of what can be, that in the midst of grime and turmoil, there lies a layer beneath which can be exposed.

One of neatness and calm, one of beauty and grace.

Even the long necks of his subjects suggest

‘Caballero,’ 19.75 x 7 x 6.5 inches, brass.

swan-like elegance or if not that, the long sight of someone who can see above heads, like that of a giraffe.

At the simplest, these long necks, which create an illusion of height, even if they should only extend from one’s shoulders or the top of one’s torso, imply superiority, not by holding one’s head high or tilting it toward the heavens, as in the gesture of a snob, but simply by the extension of one’s neck.

What may seem absurd, although a pleasant distraction when regarding Rubio’s Old-World characters, symbolizes the smart Filipino looking far at the future and thus getting ready for what it may bring

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF GALERIE JOAQUIN

‘City Hall of Davao,’ 30 x 40 inches. Oil and Goldleaf paint on canvas.

Rubio’s one-man exhibition, “Golden Milestone,” now ongoing at the Luxury Lane East Wing of Shangri-La Plaza till 15 January, allows viewers a glimpse into both reality and fantasy, although the latter is an ideal that is possible on one’s mind and therefore can be lived in one’s heart.

What Rubio is telling us is the inherent refinement of the Filipino, perhaps born of his Spanish lineage, or perhaps, a manifestation of the nobility of the Filipino before his subjugators came to pounce upon them.

Dominic Rubio and his ‘Road Trip’ painting.

Yet, Rubio chooses to peg this Old World mostly within the confines of a splendid Hispanic Manila, evoking Intramuros, as though he were in love with the past, a construct where fishermen, vendors and peasants walk freely alongside the dons and doñas, señoritos and señoritas in their finery.

Rubio, at first glance, is all elegance and all equality, but if one looks closer, one sees a dichotomy, even various social layers, but these are subtly manifested, barely a sarcastic turn of the lips, eyes that hint of, as well as, hide poverty, smiles that show all is well in the world despite its hardships.

‘Caballera,’ 19 x 17 x 11 inches, brass.

What is evident in this exhibit is the preponderance of a new element in his paintings, the gold leaf paint that does not only enhance the richness of the various themes, but also denotes endurance and wisdom, a hint of what Rubio has achieved in his artistic career.

The overall feeling is good, and we can only agree with Rubio, a hometown boy who achieves his dreams, that as he celebrates his 50th birth anniversary, his 25th year in the art scene and his 20th with Galerie Joaquin, all is well in the world notwithstanding the pandemic.

After all, it is how one’s eyes see and how one’s heart feels that matter.

For inquiries, contact Galerie Joaquin at [email protected] or (+632) 8723 9253 or Galerie Raphael at [email protected] or (+632) 8941 6194.

Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph

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