A founding figure in the development of modern and abstract art in the Philippines, Jose Joya was a multidisciplinary artist who was active as a painter, printmaker and ceramicist. He was traditionally schooled in painting under the prominent Filipino artists Fernando Amorsolo and Guillermo Tolentino at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts. Joya's travels to Spain and then to America to further his studies in the arts influenced his style of painting, as he began to experiment and develop his own interpretation of the abstract expressionist movement that was prevalent amongst artists like Jackson Pollock, whose works he saw. The current lot Ibalon presented here is equally well-travelled. First acquired from The Luz Gallery in Manila in 1970, it was then subsequently brought back to Australia after.
Painted in 1970, Ibalon is an abstract work of mostly calming green and blue solid blocks of different form and shape that are stacked against each other in a dynamic spontaneity of vigour. A visual reduction of his observation of nature in oil paint, Ibalon, could well represent the artist's simplified rendition of the ancient first Spanish settlement on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, also known as Ibalong. Joya was strongly influenced by the vibrant natural tropical landscape of his home country and committed himself to creating compositions of bold brushwork and quick application of impastos textures in a seemingly controlled manner of line, planes and colour.
Joya's works are a visual masterpiece of the senses, bringing the rich contrast of colours and textured energy in harmony within the same picture plane. One sees the same raw power in Ibalon however subtly, as Joya takes a softer, melodic approach with a large area of flat colour in this work as compared to many others in his oeuvre. Joya was an inspiration for the art scene in the Philippines, participating in numerous local and international exhibitions throughout his career.