Clear Impressions: The Extraordinary Breakthrough of Optical Glass by Ramon Orlina

Rediscover the scenic Museo Orlina in Tagaytay as it presents artworks of glass by Ramon Orlina, the internationally acclaimed glass sculptor and architect. Ramon Orlina’s abstract sculptures are composed of series of angles through creating sharp edges or sleek bends that denote movement and fluid lines. His masterpieces place him in international appraisals of the art, among the gurus Dale Chihuly of the United States and Bertil Vallien of Sweden.

We participated in an engaging media tour recently, and organized by Toots Tolentino. Sir Ramon Orlina himself toured us. We are then treated to a sumptuous lunch overlooking Taal as we become very curious about his works, visual arts and the museum’s unique setting after.Museo Orlina Tour by VJP (3)

“Actually it’s my 40th year anniversary as an artist. I graduated at UST College of Architecture but in 1975 I had my first one man show. I’m happy to tell you about the continuity of my artistry,” speaks Ramon Orlina from his humble habitat, Museo Orlina.

It opens its doors to the public to witness not only his superb workmanship and scintillating glass artistry but also some of the dynamic contemporary Philippine art, proofs of Filipino artists’ genius, monumental outdoor and indoor.

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He carefully traces his ideas in doing his recent optical glass works. “I was able to develop into glass sculpturing. Right now my exhibition is more on optical glass. As you can see, it’s just clear optical glass and if you notice its dark background, as you change your position it also changes colors and perspective according to the shape of the optical glass. They are mostly geometric, polished and frosted finish. Visually, it’s lighted from the bottom and happy about to have opened this room on the 30th of November with a two-piano concerto soiree featuring Ingrid Santamaria and Cecile Roxas.”

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He then elaborated further about glass making process, work flow and related information of glass. “One thing about the art is that I love abstract works, sometimes figurative. My work flow involves fitting abrasive to the glass; cut, grind, smooth with abrasive material and polish all with water. Water protects me (workers) against silica, a component of glass and concrete.

Along with the chronicles of his discovery to perspectives, he also mentioned some of his work achievements and shared stories about his children and family.

“I also have a sculpture garden with an amphitheatre, I can use it for dance and music where you can only experience it here in Tagaytay. There were 1,200 people to attend this one event organized by my children and it’s incomparable to experience live music with great weather.”

Clear Impressions

“Nakita ko ang possibility ng clear glass, it has fluidity, pure and lucid,” tells Ramon Orlina as he presents the display of his 23-piece sculptures carved out entirely of clear optical glass, as opposed to his signature green glass or even the many seductive hues in crystal glass. Orlina showed us to a show of these 23 stunning pieces, luminously billed as “Clear Impressions” at the Reflections Gallery in Museo Orlina, Tagaytay City that opened on November 30, 2015 and will run till January 16, 2016.

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He first used optical glass in 1999 for his entry in the Toyamura Sculpture Biennale in Japan, the “Silvery Moon” that was declared the winner of the special prize, the “Mr. F. Prize.”

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Clarity of the material is paramount as he further goes on to describe the artworks, “Clarity of shape, therefore, is the impelling motivation for Orlina’s astute study and observation of the ideal configuration which the glass block will yield. That Orlina’s penetrating gaze is multi-perspectival, indeed almost simultaneously in-the-round, allows him to make each cut and contour, each internal passage and external surface, either finished to a smooth glassy surface or “frosted” to a desired effect. And because of the clarity of the material, Orlina is also able to summon a more perspicacious visual clarity in the solidity of the raw block of optical glass laid out before him”

An added attraction to Clear Impressions are two sculptures created by Orlina’s daughters Monina Orlina and Anna Orlina in collaboration with their father.

Why glass as a medium?

“Because we can’t imagine our civilization without glass. Without glass, we will never know that we are moving around the sun because of the telescope which is made of glass; hindi malalaman kung ano ang diperensya mo kung may diabetes ka or what kung walang microscope (also made of glass); hindi tayo makakakuha ng picture rito kung wala tayong glass; paggising mo sa umaga, hindi mo makikita ang sarili mo kung walang glass. Puro glass, the purpose is that I’ve turned it into art,” expressed Orlina.

The history of glassmaking can be traced back to 3000 BCE in Mesopotamia. Glass appears to have been produced as far back as 1500 BC by the Egyptians and perhaps the Phoenicians. Glass uses and manufacturing developments have gone through an interesting evolution throughout human history, influenced by many cultures including those in Africa, China and Europe. ~historyofglass.com 

Glasses are immensely extraordinary, the visual art that comes to life is not imaginary and its development has made a huge transformation to our civilization creating a modified perception to luminance.

The intricate lines and details constitute his every experience, influence and on how he communicates his variety of ideas. You want to tell yourself that may be you can also make one but no, not without innate talent and ample knowledge to glass properties.

In photos, Media Tour at Museo Orlina

We had a great time at Museo Orlina. Grab the chance to experience it too! Visit Museo Orlina, for further inquiries please contact (046)4132581 or (0906)434-0862. More photos HERE.

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Operating Hours:
Tuesdays to Sundays 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Closed on Mondays, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day

Admission Fees:
General: Php 100
Students / Senior Citizens with valid ID: Php 80

One thought on “Clear Impressions: The Extraordinary Breakthrough of Optical Glass by Ramon Orlina

  1. There’s no question about his art. Totally excellence and really worthy to be called “world-class.” I used to see some of his works during my visit (and at the same time, working on an event) there. And he’s a very very nice person when I met him a few months back (though not in his museum).

    I wish I could have some spare time to visit Museo Orlina again and be mesmerized by his wonders.

    “I also have a sculpture garden with an amphitheatre, I can use it for dance and music where you can only experience it here in Tagaytay. There were 1,200 people to attend this one event organized by my children and it’s incomparable to experience live music with great weather.”

    —with the area which actually looks like they could fit in 200-400 people, it’s quite an improbable-yet-possible feat.

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