Ramon Orlina has found splendor in the glass. Choosing to specialize in art pieces fashioned from this medium, he has made an inimitable niche for himself in Philippine art. His works in green glass have become his trademark—with shimmering curves, angles and contours that beguile those who see them.
thus features new sculptures in glass in a mixture of colors such as green, amber, yellow, lavender and orange, as well as those in clear optical, pure black and bronze. It also includes works combining glass with other materials such as stainless steel and bronze casting from one of Orlina’s glass sculptures—an indication of his constant quest to push artistic boundaries.
“For me, it is still a continuous learning process. The artist’s role is to create. You have to develop new forms and present new ideas,” Orlina enthuses.
This attitude has served the artist well, especially in his early days as a glass sculptor. An architect by profession, he went into art full-time and selected glass as a medium because of his fascination with it as a construction material. In a unique set-up with Republic Glass, he was able to observe up close the making of glass right in the factory and to talk with the people involved in its development.
From the knowledge and expertise that he gained there, Orlina was eventually able to transform glass cullets—considered as industrial waste—into beautiful works of art using the “cold” method of cutting, grinding and polishing. Because there were no glass artisans that he could learn from or train under, Orlina practically blazed the trail in carving glass in the country—thereby elevating what was regarded before as a “decorative” material into a high level of fine art.
Orlina’s glass creations have evolved through the years. He started with prismatic pieces, then developed organic forms, sculptures with holes, then ones with more texture, and still others incorporating a different range of materials.
“Glass is an endlessly intriguing material. This poses a greater challenge for me to explore its possibilities,” he declares. ”With no one to learn from here, no influences to follow and no standards to follow, I’ve had to devise my own style demanding originality and improvisation.”