Over a century ago, the pioneering abstractionists - the Russian
Wassily Kandinsky and the Dutchman Piet Mondrian – were early
attuned to a conjoined mystery: that of painting and music, or color
and sound. The realization that both elements are governed by forces
leading to spiritual values shaping man, was a breakthrough reflection on the primal and primordial power that resides in the mysterious realm of the arts.
A trained musician, Kandinsky, in his treatise titled On the
Spiritual in Art, wrote: “Our hearing of colors is so precise…Color is a means of exerting a direct influence upon the soul.
More specifically, he said: “For every color, there are four main
sounds.” A proponent of the equation between color and sound,
Kandinsky composed his paintings as he would a piece of music, later
gicing them titles of “Composition,” “Improvisation,” and “Impression.
As if to emphasize the point, Mondrian, on the other hand, wrote: “This new reality in painting is a composition of color and noncolor, in music,of determined sound and noise.”
In like manner, Filipino artist Marlon Magbanua, who is himself an
active participant in the music as well as in the visual scene, is implicitly aware of the aesthetic and expressive possibilities of his art as an extension of his musicianship. And the reverse is as well true: his art is to be understood and appreciated as sound, meaning, as music – indeed, even as silence - surely the absence of sound, albeit with an
awareness of its negation.
On view at the RenaissanceArt Gallery is Marlon Magbanua’s
“Silent Light.” At once, there is of course the allusion to the famous Christmas carol “Silent Night,” referencing the darkness that has engulfed and vanished the light of day. Moreover, color and sound have correspondences with emotion – which itself, in its various nuances and manifestations, is rendered visible and felt through conditions of texture and consciousness of scents. It is in this amazing inter-relatedness of the senses, the interdependent alliances among the arts,is where Marlon operates and perceives the dimensions of his art.
One recalls Marlon’s series of works titled “Origin of Happiness,”
which articulated expressions of the haptic – of the sense of touch; and the optic – visibility of perception. The representation of abstract forms and expressive colors can be a memory image of well-being, joy, and contentment. For Marlon, art is not just the enlivening of pictorial space, but an embodiment of what has always been invisible, the phenomenon of the spiritual.
Through his succession of shows – Marlon is among the most
assiduously prolific artists of his generation – one discerns that his body of works is emerging to be all-of-a-piece. One show builds on the previous one, leading on to the other not merely as a continuing variation of a series; but rather as an elucidation of a thought process, a discernment of a heretofore unrevealed facet of his visual-cum-musical journey. Emotionally and intellectually, Marlon Magbanua is the artist who is at once creator and spectator of his own works. He is his own silent witness to the ineffable mysteries of light.
Cid Reyes is the author of choice of National Artists Arturo Luz, BenCab, J. Elizalde Navarro, and Napoleon V. Abueva. He has authored/co-authored over forty art books. He received a “Best in Art Criticism” Award from the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP). As an artist, Reyes has held 17 solo exhibitions.