Tony Twigg has not mounted an exhibit of his paintings since his art school days. Art circles in Southeast Asia—the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore—and in his native Australia, know him for his wonderful wall-bound and freestanding timber constructions. He uses strips of found wood to create abstract patterns that play with positive and negative spaces. He leaves gaps in between these bands of milled wood that do as much to complete each piece as the wooden portions. “Just think of a donut”, Tony explains. “What is important is what is not there.”
It is these spaces in between that have led him to the new direction his art has taken for The Entropy Shuffle and Other Compositions From The Vibrafon, now on view at Galeria Duemila.
One looks at the exhibit as a visual progression that starts with The Vibrafon, a three-dimensional piece in wood, and ends with Standing Vibrafon, a three-dimensional piece in metal. In between the two points, Tony plays with patterns drawn from The Vibrafon and transforms them into two-dimensional abstract paintings. He used The Vibrafon’s wooden slats as stencils. Paint serves as the medium that highlights these patterns for us. Tony compares his paintings to HR Ocampo’s pieces: contrasting colors fill in the gaps of what had been negative spaces. Munchkins have been made from donut holes.
For his nine canvases, Tony adopts a palette reminiscent of mid-20th century mod. The variations in black, white, gray, red, dark brown, mustard, and dull blue give off a retro vibe that one finds in movie posters or print ads from the late 1950s to the early 1960s. They have a feel that a 21st century audience can relate to because of the TV series Mad Men. My personal favorites are the simple ones, black and white, or grays with the touch of red. They remind me of the early Luz abstracts and the Luz mural now installed at the CCP.
The titles that Tony has chosen for his paintings, with their musical connotations (mambo, waltz, shuffle), give us the impression that his artistic process mirrors the composition of music. One piece, when rearranged, can yield a range of scores, all equally enjoyable.
Tony Twigg’s works in wood have always been beautiful examples of contemporary abstraction. Now, with the addition of his paintings, and even his foray into metal, they have become even more so.
The Entropy Shuffle and Other Variations from The Vibrafon runs from 9 October to 2 November 2010 at Galeria Duemila, 210 Loring St., Pasay City. Phone (632)831-9990 or visit http://www.galeriaduemila.com