The brilliant new colors of Ramon Orlina 2
(From left) "Brilliant in Splendor" and "Tranquility" by Ramon Orlina.

The brilliant new colors of Ramon Orlina

The new collection displays the signature motifs of the artist, as well as his experiment with light which extends to trying out different colors.
Lito B. Zulueta | Oct 11 2021

Ramon Orlina, who has been nominated for National Artist for Visual Arts, reaffirms his achievement in glass sculpture with “Brilliance 3,” mounted by Gallery Big at the Saturday Group Gallery of Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong.

The exhibit, running till October 16, continues Orlina’s experiments with light, slant, and hue, and their interaction.

"Light of Alexandria" by Ramon Orlina. 39 x 31 x 23 cm. Carved Mediterranean Blue Glass, 2021 

Imbued with an architect’s sense of space and proportion, Orlina’s abstract sculptures seem to refract light to and from the space around it, so that they glow with a certain presence and throb with a certain vitality.

The new collection displays the signature motifs of Orlina, ranging from abstract Zen-minimalist pieces to abstract renditions of the human form, nature, landscapes, and bodies of water.  

His experiment with light extends to trying out different colors: starting with the original liquid green shimmer of the sculptures, he has adopted other colors such as beaming yellow, scintillating blue, and refulgent brown.

Perhaps the most striking of the new exhibit are his peridot works. Sometimes called chrysolite, peridot is a magnesium-rich variety of fosterite, or gem-quality olivine.

Since the mineral is an “olivine,” it has an incandescent and almost transparent green color. The visual effect is relaxing and even healing.

"Leveling Up" by Ramon Orlina. 42 x 38 x 19 cm. Carved Green glass, 2021

Not for nothing is peridot during the Middle Ages considered a healing stone. It is said to cure melancholy and depression.

“Tranquility,” one of the works on exhibit, is peridot glass carved like two interlocking ovals or like a bull’s eye, with its back forming as a tendril reaching upward like a flame. The ovals draw the eye for a serene contemplation of whorls and coils. The effect is restful.

The potential of peridot to trigger contemplation is again in full display in “Mystical and Majestic,” showing an abstracted sierra, with its irregular and serrated peaks and inclines. The sculpture seems to evoke the remoteness of the mountains as well as their ineffability, their dreamlike quality.

The therapeutic effect of the sculptures is calculated. According to the exhibit notes, “Brilliance 3” “serves as the artist’s meditation on the gift of light, an apt metaphor for the illuminating power of kindness and generosity in these troubled times.”

Orlina and his atelier are steadily rising from the ill effects of the pandemic.

Mystical & Majestic by Ramon Orlina
"Mystical & Majestic" by Ramon Orlina. 29 x 53 x 27 cm. Carved Peridot Glass, 2021

“I am sure that Philippine art on the whole will survive and bounce back from the losses when this pandemic is over,” said Orlina. “In the meantime I pray that the government and the private sector will help keep our arts scene vibrant in whatever way possible.”

Orlina’s new show serves as a beacon of hope for the troubled times. In “Light of Alexandria,” he reimagines the Lighthouse of Alexandria, which used to guide ships in the entrance to Phoros, Egypt.

Carved in Mediterranean blue glass, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world is recast as geometric linear grooves mimicking the ebb and flow of the tides, embodying the sea’s rhythm as well as the march of history.

To Orlina, art is like a floodlit beacon guiding men and women amid struggles and uncertainty. It shines a ray of light out of the tumult and turbulence.

It is not for nothing that the Latin word for brilliance is “claritas.”

Brilliance 3 is on view till Oct.16 at the Saturday Group Gallery, 4F East Wing, Shangri-la Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City.  For inquiries, or to schedule a visit to see the exhibit on-site, please call or SMS Jaqui Gubaton at +639778265953.  Standard health protocols apply.  The exhibit may also be viewed online via