Lives and Works: Philippines
In 1969, Arturo Luz abandoned figuration in his art. The artist recalls this decision, “Why do I insist on using a subject when my work was progressively becoming more and more linear, more and more abstract? The subject simply no longer seemed important. The Important elements were line, composition relationships. Why not do sculpture?”
Arturo Luz (born 1926) entered the Philippine art scene in the early 1950s, fresh from advanced studies in art at San Francisco, New York and Paris. With the close friend Fernando Zobel, the young artists developed a spare, semi-figurative style that adhered to the emerging abstract aesthetic championed by the pioneers of Philippine modern art during those formative years–the Philippine Art Gallery and the Art Association of the Philippines.
Luz would pursue his vision of minimalism, simplicity and purity of form throughout his prolific career as artist, gallery owner and arts administrator. For more than forty years, the Luz Gallery would mount consistently excellent artist exhibitions, most of them the finest expressions in abstract art. From the 1970s to the 1980s, Arturo Luz was head of three premier art institutions: Design Center Philippines, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, and the Museum of Philippine Art. He resigned from these government positions in the mid-1980s and began life as a fulltime artist. In 1997, he was named National Artist for the Visual Arts.
As one of the leading modernists of his generation who will in turn, inspire and influence the next generation of new artists, all the hallmarks of his artistic oeuvre-elegant linearity, seamless design and minimal color-are supremely prominent and tangible in his three-dimensional work. He counts various artists as influences: Rufino Tamayo, Paul Klee, Henry Moore, Isamu Noguchi and Eduardo Chillida, to name a few.
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