THE ALLURE OF GLASS
by Alice Guillermo
Glass as an artistic medium was brought to public attention in the Fifties when Steuben Glass invited a number of Filipino artists to create designs which were executed in crystal, thus bringing out the possibilities of the industrial material. It was however, only around 1975 that an artist, Ramon Orlina, took up the challenge of the medium and began to work in it consistently.
In 1976, he proved his mastery of the medium in Arcanum XIX Paradise Gained, a glass mural measuring 1.80 x 3.20 x .60 meters done for the lobby of Silahis International Hotel. At present, Orlina's work consists of glass murals, table sculptures which make up large part of his work, and sculptures within architectural framework. His table sculptures explore potentials of studio glass by the process of cutting the cullets, grinding and shaping them into the desired shapes, and finally smoothing them for tactile appeal.
While achieving integrity of form, he creates a lively interplay between transparency and translucency, polished and frosted surfaces, prismatic areas and smooth planes, long graceful movements and sharp angular definitions. Some works have figurative suggestions of mother-and-child or lovers in embrace. In their richness of forms, linear rhythms and contrapuntal passages, appear interacting with, as well as reflecting, the surrounding space.
The appeal is highly visual in the fascinating convolutions of the shapes and in the scintillating tones of green, now lighter now darker as angles change with the light, as well as in the multi-layers of dept defined by the transparent and translucent passages while the impeccably smooth crystalline surfaces reflecting the light also invite the admiring touch.
Sculpture in the Philippines: From Anito to Assemblage and other essays
p. 37, 1991