Bert Antonio’s latest series of abstract works is wholly dedicated to writer and good friend, Joy Dayrit. He feels “…another goodbye to another dear friend… for joy…,” inspired by a Rolling Stones song, is the most appropriate title, as he pays tribute to a long-time muse and personally copes with the loss of a loved one. “It’s very personal, and I am sure a lot of people feel the same toward her.”
On view from June 21 through July 6 at West Gallery’s Gallery 4 are 21 of Antonio’s newest set of paintings, the most recent batch off his long-running “myTouch, Paperview and TV series.” The number 21 is significant. It represents not only being away from the Philippines for 21 years, but also as a symbolic 21-gun salute to Dayrit.
Antonio, who has since resided in the United States, realizes he has to make the most out of his day to find the time to paint. He does not let his regular job stop him from his artistic pursuits. For him, the important thing is to keep producing art and to get opportunities to exhibit his works, while keeping in touch with Filipino artist-friends back home.
Sometimes he finds himself immersed in 15 paintings simultaneously over a span of three weeks, painting for about three hours a day after work. To Antonio, the smaller paintings seem to require more time. “It’s not that they require more attention to detail, but they are more intimate. To look at a smaller work, you have to get closer to it; if it is bigger, you have to step back to see the whole picture.”
“The images, small as they are, take me three weeks to put them all together. I look at them for a long time before continuing, as some are more intricate than others,” says Antonio, as he carefully gauges the direction of the painting with the lines, forms, colors, and texture that strike an emotional chord with him as the creator and the viewer in mind.
The works then become a window into Antonio’s soul, like visual portraits of his thoughts, feelings, and visions. His main goal is to enjoy the whole process, no matter how tedious or demanding of his time and resources. “I look forward to the next painting as much as I enjoy [working on] the last painting.”