With a career spanning almost five decades, at 80 years of age, Angelito Antonio continues to display the mastery of color, line, and form that earned him a place among the second wave of Modernists who carried the torch for Modern Art in the country.
The influence of other titans of Philippine art on Antonio’s work are evident: there are the references to cubism, the preponderance of folk motifs, the focus on Filipino archetypes as subjects, all of which bring to mind Manansala, Malang, H.R. Ocampo, and Anita Magsaysay-Ho.
But as early as1968, Jolico Cuadra, an art critic pointed out what made Antonio’s art different:
“He explodes them, rendering them in brisk, impatient strokes that shatter their natural boundaries. They are no longer simply decorative …[but are] now fiercely emotional symbols. The harshness of brush strokes and colors are expressionist explosions of form.”
The multi-awarded artist, whose works are part of the collections of private collectors, as well as local and international institutions, recently underwent open-heart surgery. While recuperating, he turned once more to his art, and soon he had enough for an exhibition.
He calls this exhibition Backflow, which means flowing back or returning especially towards a source. “This is symbolic of my medical condition, which runs parallel to my feeling of giving back my artistic talent for the glory of God,” says the Maestro. More than ever, this is the time in my life that I feel God’s presence in my every work.