“Tender Woods, Silent Seas” presents works on paper by celebrated artist, Juvenal Sansó. Produced from the 1960s to the 1970s, Sansó’s tender illustrations of flowers, mountains, and seas are re-introduced in this exhibition. Notably, the works here provide us with Sansó’s gentle depiction of the scenes and landscapes that had surrounded him during this era. Perhaps, a deviation from the artist’s usually bright and intense palette, “Tender Woods, Silent Seas” appeals more to the viewer as being entrenched in a time with the artist as he grants us a view of some of the most idyllic and tranquil days of his life.

Born in Reus, Catalonia, Spain in 1929, Sansó moved to Manila at the height of the Spanish Civil War. He received painting classes from private tutors and later enrolled at the Fine Arts program of the University of the Philippines and studied under Fernando Amorsolo, Dominador Castaneda, and Ireneo Miranda. After his studies, Sansó relocated in Europe and lived there for fifty years before moving back to Manila in 2008.

The works in this exhibition were made in the 60s and 70s while Sansó was living in Paris. The landscapes painted in acrylic are titled after the French region of Brittany. The subtlety in applying green and blue color shades would give more prominence to the hills, seas, and mountains of these significant places in the artist’s life.

Sansó’s romantic interpretations of these idyllic scenes carry the artist’s long relationship with the region. For twenty-five years, he had visited the scenic place every summer and had formed a distinct relationship with these landscapes; it seems that Sansó had memorized every lush and rock formation and the artist had belonged to the place as much as the place had belonged to his canvases.

Another part of this collection are delicate drawings that depict a more detailed illustration of nature. Unlike the colorful landscapes, Sansó’s soft contours in these markings remind us of nature’s true wonder: beauty without the intervention of humans. The delineation of these life forms through Sansó’s hand relay to the viewers the artist’s intimate bond with the environment. Therefore, these drawings are catalysts for contemplation in understanding the necessity to conserve these living organisms as they emit spiritual energies that reach the depths of our soul.

curated by Gwen Bautista