This section contains recent reviews of exhibitions as well as excerpts from books, journals, and magazines.
Today's Weekender, Oct. 17, 1999.
No. 379, p. 7.
Their dance movements are marked with fierce energies that draw from the folk impulse, at the same time that they link up with the erotic, not only in their form but in their intensity of feelings as well.
By ALICE G. GUILLERMO
Certainly one of the most active working in Iloilo today is Ed Defensor, who commutes between several art media: the theater and the visual arts, particularly sculpture and painting. Seeing Ed, one gets the impression that here indeed is one person who is thoroughly immersed in art, not only in a personal way, but in a large public sharing of narratives, movements and images. An artist thoroughly dedicated to his work, he goes about his art with unflagging enthusiasm, drawing from a wide array of materials and deriving inspiration from diverse sources, indigenous, colonial and contemporary.
Iloilo becomes a center of art activity in the Visayas and nationwide in the Hublag festival to which painters, sculptors and installation artists from all over the country have been invited. In one of these festivals, Defensor exhibited an unusual bamboo sculpture consisting of a series of bamboo tubes cut and carved with a built-in mechanism for movements to depict the legendary Visayan serpent, the Bakunawa. Since then, Defensor has already accumulated a sizeable body of sculptural works, as well as drawings and paintings. He also stayed at the University of the Philippines for a time in order to earn his masteral degree with a thesis on the artist San Miguel, a 19th-century telon painter who adorned numerous theater stages and studios with his scenographic paintings of gardens and architectural backgrounds.
Exhibited in a sculpture garden, Defensor's three-dimensional works, show the influence of Napoleon Abueva primarily in the modernist approach to form as well as in the adventurous experimentaon with all kinds of media. He rarely works with only one material, but invariably combines several different materials to bring out textural interest, and relationships of contrast and complementarity. Often, too, he creates his own media, as in his unusual sculpture Kneeling Dancer made of copper nails ranged closely in tight rows around the figure with its wooden core. This produces a highly textured effect and an oscillating tonal play in the tiny glistening rods of copper. Folk Dancer also makes use of copper nails to shape the stylized human figure, but in addition, it is set on a pedestal of wood with colorful abstractions in acrylic encased in glass on the sides of the stand. The figure and the smooth stand of black wood are complementary elements which make