Master abstractionist Edwin Wilwayco celebrates 4 decades with coffee-table book

In Photo: From the artist’s Images of Exuberance series

Painting is a discovery. Every time you make a mark on canvas, all sorts of possibilities open up and all sorts of problems to which you have to find the solutions. When you take a brush to canvas, you never know exactly the result paint is going to make. The tension of always trying to push yourself over the edge, of testing the limits of your imagination, in the hope of creating impressions distinctly your own and quite beyond anything you ever expected when you started out. Therein lies the continual challenge and beauty of the act of painting for me.—Edwin Wilwayco 

The coffee-table book Edwin Wilwayco

THE publication of a coffee table book, itself a museum without walls, devoted to the lifetime body of works by a single artist, is always a cause for celebration.

For artist Edwin Wilwayco, it’s an affirmation of all that he has worked for. For the reading public, it’s an opportunity to view and appreciate the panoramic achievements of one of the country’s leading abstractionists.

To the not-so-knowledgeable of what abstract art is, it is simply defined by as “nonobjective art or nonrepresentational art, painting, sculpture, or graphic art in which the portrayal of things from the visible world plays no part” (

The Fatima University Gallery Foundation Inc. has published and launched the book, simply titled Edwin Wilwayco.  Authored by award-winning artist and art critic Cid Reyes, the book brings to the fore the struggles of a young Wilwayco, already deciding or choosing at a tender age that abstraction was the style in which he could best express himself, despite his graphic facility and fluency in representational art. Absorbing the inevitable influences of his college mentors, and enlightened by the entire history of abstraction, from Wassily Kandinsky down to Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, Wilwayco synthesized, distilled and drew, from his own experimental alchemy, his own trademark characteristics of brushstrokes, gestural marks, floral motifs and vibrant chromatics.

Edwin Wilwayco

The book also traces the progression of his many thematic series, each one a rich exploration of expressions reflective of local culture, nationalism, spirituality, the varying seasons, music, geometric symbolisms and the mysterious gifts of nature. These are all manifested in a harmonious, but inexplicable, array of designs and patterns. Down to his older years, Wilwayco has never wavered from the restless enrichment of his vocabulary of either form or color.

Lavishly arranged by Aman Santos,

The forest from the series In Nature’s Realm

coordinated by Alec Ramos, with numerous photographs by Ferdinand Rodriguez and Lovella Uy of  Photoholict, culled from nearly a thousand works in different media, the book is distinct evidence of  Wilwayco’s prolific production, proving that inspiration comes not from thin air—but from passion, determination and commitment to the vocation which Wilwayco has dedicated his life to the pursuit of abstraction painting.

  • The book is sold at Leon Gallery, Ground Floor, Eurovilla 1, Legazpi corner Rufino Streets, Legazpi Village, Makati City.
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