by Feb 19, 2024Blog

Dynamic and disturbing, these are the words often used to describe the distinctively sharp, emotionally stimulating Cubist-like, surrealistic and expressionistic works of Ang Kiukok (March 1,1931 -May 9, 2005). His style, described as “Figurative Expressionism”, a mixture of the cubist influence of his mentor, another National Artist, Vicente S. Manansala, who was also his life-long friend, the turmoil of the Martial Law period in which he worked, his own creativity in concealing his message in metaphors, and the use of strong colors and bold strokes, earned him the National Artist Award in 2001. Boasting not only of critical acclaim, after many years of struggle to remain true to his art, eventually also became very commercially popular.

His works, which the subjects range from fishes, to mother and child, to crucifixions, to dogs, to clowns, and to roosters, were meant to hit hard. When he was asked about the rage often depicted in this works, he replied:

” Why not? Open your eyes. Look at you. So much rage, sadness, ugliness, and insanity, too.”


Jose T. Joya (June 3,1931- May 11, 1995) was not confined to one genre, medium or style, one can always recognize his uniqueness in color and in style. He created masterpieces with rice paper, ceramic and canvas, using a multitude of media from colored pencils to water color and oil paints, and even sand, sometimes together in one artwork. His strokes varied from soft and transparent to broad and kinetic to straight from the tube or spread with a spatula. He also made prints. His works greatly influenced many upcoming artists to experiment with working with multimedia, thus earning him the Order of National Artists in 2003 for visual arts, and acknowledgement as one of the second generation of Filipino Modernists along with Federico Aguilar Y Alcuaz, Arturo Luz (both also on exhibit) Constancio Bernardo and Fernando Zobel.

His theme ranges from rice fields to mother-and child to abstract “gestural paintings”, some of which are reminiscent of Philippine folk art and culture, while others display frenetic energy and spontaneity. His large body of work, while prolific still maintained a high degree of quality as befits a National Artist.

“In creating an art work, the artist is concretizing his need for communication. He has an irresistible urge to reach that level of spiritual satisfaction and to project what he is and what he thinks through his work.”


Federico Aguilar Y Alcuaz (June 6, 1932-February 2, 2011) is a contemporary of Jose T. Joya, and his works and medium are just as varied. He is greatly renowned for his exemplary art with gestural paintings in oil and acrylic, but also produced watercolor works, sculpture and textile works. Although they share the characteristic of diversity in medium, theme and genre, Alcuaz’s works, with its bold shapes and defined lines contrasted with soft blurred edges, are clearly distinguishable from Joya and from all other artists. He was conferred the National Artist Award in 2011 and is considered as one of the second-generation Filipino Modernists. He was trained as a classical painter abroad and studied under Fernando Amorsolo, among other great artists in UP College of Fine Arts. He has works on exhibit in other countries as well.

His body of works include interiors, and still life renderings that is imbibed with movement and energy as well as aesthetic nudes and meticulous landscapes that leave a distinct impression on the viewer. However, he is mostly famous for his abstracts. He has his very own mixed-media creations that he called his “Alcuazaics”.
“Painting is not a competition to prove that one is better than the other-it is more of an internal struggle with oneself- to do better, to improve- for there is more satisfaction we derive from painting and not what others really say or think…”


Rounding off the ADFMoPaC’s collection from the Second Generation of Modernists are the works of Arturo Rogerio Dimayuga Luz (November 26, 1926 – May 26, 2021). He also worked with multimedia: he painted, he sculpted, and he was a designer. His contribution to Philippine Art community lies not only in his works as an artist, but as an administrator that lead to the professionalization of the institution of art galleries, foremost of which is the Luz Gallery. He is also a founding member of the Neo-Realist School of Philippine Art.

In contrast to his contemporaries, Luz’s works were minimalist and austere, from his early “playful linear works” and figurative paintings that eventually matured into his own brand of very simplified geometric abstracts of human figures, landscapes and still life that exemplified elegance, competence and order. This style is always present in his works, be it on canvas or sculptures.

“My work is linear or geometric, and that’s it, essentially. I cannot imagine myself going conceptual or surrealistic tomorrow.”

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