"Indeed, no other medium possesses the natural property of transparency that lends glass its distinctive allure. Likewise, as wood has its veins, glass has its "cords" or pouring lines which form wave-like strands within the cullet and which leave their traces after a long period of settling and cooling. In the same way as veins of wood, the cords guide the sculptor in cutting and shaping the forms. But on the whole, the creative process involves bringing into play the reflective and refractive properties of the medium in a complex interaction with the setting, natural or man-made. For glass sculpture which possesses its own formal dynamics holds a dual relationship with the environment. On one hand, it passively reflects the myriad features of the surroundings, even as the images that glide or float upon its surface are continually modified by the changing conditions of the light through the day and the seasons. But on the other hand, the intervention of the sculptor breaks up the flow of the reflected images by various refractive and multiplying strategies through which he creates multiple perspectives of interior spaces that reverberate within the transparent form." (Alice G. Guillermo, "Magic of the Carved Glass" in Orlina - Glass in Silver, exhibition cat. 9 to 29 November 2000, Ayala Center, Manila, p. 4.)
Alice Guillermo has successfully summed up the inherent quality of glass and therefore the intrinsic characteristic of the glass sculpture. Inherent as the quality is, it would be for the ability of the artist to bring it out. Ramon Orlina did exactly that with the present lot.
The LA MADRE has a spiritual quality of a nun garbed in robes, in quiet meditation or prayer, at the same time it come alive with moving forms of brilliant light and mysterious shadows when one peers into the sculpture. Orlina does this by making cuts and slices into the glass that are textured and frosted to catch and capture light in the transparent medium. By playfully trapping the light at different angles the LA MADRE is not just a 3-dimensional, sculpture-in-the-round but has a fourth dimension that gives the viewer a mysterious view inside the sculpture. This style of work evolved from the "NAESA" series in the late 80's, named after the artist's first child Naesa, which is ASEAN spelt backwards. In creating the NAESA series the artist made full use of the optical qualities of light to reflect and deflect in vitreous matter.
In the words of art critic Eric Torres, " What makes "Naesa" an advance of his earlier efforts is the conscious deployment of light as a vital element in his sculpture. Orlina now truly sculpts with light, in particular light "trapped within" the glass block... In regulating the passage of the light through the glass, Orlina frosts certain sides, or facets, of his sculpture. Combining the frosted and textured areas with the crystalline ones is a means of modulating, balancing and maintaining a desirable sense of continuity in the various movements of linear, planar and tonal elements.
"The attempts at integrating light with the forms of his works are mostly and eminently successful. The effect of viewing any piece in 'Naesa' by moving around it - or moving it around - is one of luminous satisfaction."