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Edwin Wilwayco’s Jazz/Nocturne Interlude Is An Emotionally Charged Visual Journey

Not everything must be in full color, or simply in black and white, as can be seen in Edwin Wilwayco’s new series, Jazz/Nocturne Interlude.

A highlight of pivotal moments, the show is a deviation from Wilwayco’s signature bold and vibrant hues, mounting two distinct one-man shows in a single exhibition. In each painting, the artist’s dynamic brush strokes and juxtaposition of textures coalesce into a complex visual repertoire of highs and lows—some gradual, others abrupt—leaving the viewer awash with emotion, in the same manner one would be moved after listening to an evocative musical piece.

Wilwayco, who is moved by classical music when he paints, having paid homage to Vivaldi and Bach in his previous works, opted for a different muse prior to starting this series: jazz. He says the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s “Take Five,” a chart-topping, game-changing jazz hit released in the late 1950s, may have helped set the ball in motion, inspiring him to begin the new series. It prompted Wilwayco to deviate from his bright and colorful palettes and instead paint with black, white, and muted earth tones — a change that will intrigue not just his dedicated collectors but all lovers and collectors of Philippine art.

He also listened to the music of other well-known jazz artists—McCoy Tyner, Andre Previn, Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis, Nathan East, Pat Metheney, Joe Pass, Ray Brown, Ahmad Jamal, Oscar Peterson, and Chick Cores—for over five months while working on the series.

The paintings—all thirteen of them—were inspired by the structure of jazz and classical music, says the artist. To a mere spectator, it may seem impossible: drawing together what Wilwayco refers to as “the properties of musical sound and paint” to come up with his masterpieces. 

“It’s so powerful that sometimes, I wonder if art is using us to reproduce itself.” Wilwayco says.

But the pieces do speak for themselves through a symphony of textures and tones, in variations of movement, flow and contrast, each stroke suggesting an emotional arc, or perhaps a crescendo or improvisation, that moved the artist while he was at work. Wilwayco purposefully used black, white and a third color, as well as texture and movement, to communicate his theme for each painting he created.

The themes are open to interpretation. Each painting has a distinct, seductive quality of its own. And for each piece, heavily painted dark surfaces serve as the stage for a myriad of light or heavy, upward or downward, sideways or diagonal, whole, broken, jagged or splattered, deliberate or subdued, laborious strokes, that could have been transposed from the sound of a piano, a saxophone or a trombone, an upright bass, clarinet, or drums—or perhaps even a medley from jazz greats Brubeck, Davis, and Cores.

The artist understands how complex a series Jazz/Nocturne Interlude is, and how viewers can be drawn into submission, staring into a painting for longer to understand the theme behind it or to come up with their own personal interpretation. This reaction may be credited to what Wilwayco sees as “liquid sensations that move the mind into a place of relaxed awareness, in waves of feeling without an exact destination, and endpoint beyond words,” perhaps attributing to his personal experience as he completed this rare series.

Apart from music — and sheer talent — Wilwayco credits prayer as an enabler of his creative process. “Prayer is what sustains me and enables me to create. For me the importance of prayer is, I do not have to wait for an inspiration or for a muse to speak to me” he says. 

The themes for the abstract pieces for this series may be too complex to understand at first sight, but enamoring, nonetheless. As with Wilwayco’s previous masterpieces, the ones in Jazz/Nocturne Interlude are as compelling: a feast for the senses and a journey for the soul that commands feelings of awe, satisfaction, and complete surrender. 

The exhibition coincides with the official opening of Galerie Joaquin One Bonifacio High Street. A well-appointed, intricately designed space, it caters to a highly selected roster of leading modernist and fine arts masters. “Edwin Wilwayco: Jazz/Nocturne Interlude” will be the very first exhibit on view at the Galerie Joaquin beginning November 21, 2021. For more information, contact 0917-5343942 or email
Galerie Joaquin One Bonifacio High Street is part of the Galerie Joaquin Group’s vision for its 20th anniversary, with another Galerie Joaquin opening in Rockwell. Most of the top modernist and fine art masters exhibit in Galerie Joaquin, including National Artists Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, Abduari Imao as well as works by Ramon Orlina, Michael Cacnio, Mario Parial, Dominic Rubio and Presidential Medal Awardee for Art Juvenal Sanso.