Edwin Wilwayco paints the hues of jazz and classical music in his latest exhibition

Published November 19, 2021, 9:30 AM

by John Legaspi

‘Jazz/Nocturne Interlude’ series presents the artist’s change of color

If abstract painting would have a musical interpretation, it would definitely be jazz. It’s full of improvisation and, much like abstract visual art, there is no formula, the beauty lies in the chaos and the surprises that come with it. Abstract painting can also be reiterated through classical music. Think of the sudden crescendos, the shifting from tickling melodies to thundering tones. Classical symphonies also prove that their charm is timeless, much like an abstraction’s aesthetic.

That is where Filipino artist Edwin Wilwayco hails his inspiration for his latest exhibition. Dubbed “Jazz/Nocturne Interlude,” the exhibit is like a composition mixing jazz and classical music through a muted palette, a deviation from his signature bold and vibrant hues. The paintings—all 13 of them—were directly inspired by the structure of jazz and classical music, says the artist. To a mere spectator, it may seem impossible: Drawing together what Wilwayco refers to as “the properties of musical sound and paint” to come up with his masterpieces.

‘Jazz Interlude #10’

‘Jazz Interlude #8’

Wilwayco who is deeply moved by classical music when he paints, having paid homage to Vivaldi and Bach in his previous works, opted for a different muse prior to starting this series: jazz. He says the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s “Take Five,” (an all too familiar chart-topping, game-changing jazz hit released in the late 1950s) in particular, may have helped set the ball in motion, inspiring him to begin the new series. He also listened to the music of other well-known jazz artists—McCoy Tyner, Andre Previn, Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis, Nathan East, Pat Metheney, Joe Pass, Ray Brown, Ahmad Jamal, Oscar Peterson, and Chick Cores—for over five months while working on the series.

“It’s so powerful that sometimes, I wonder if art is using us to reproduce itself.” Wilwayco says.

Imbibing a seductive quality, each painting has a dark background that serves as a stage for the dance of colors in different stroke, from light or heavy, upward or downward, and sideways or diagonal to whole, broken, jagged or splattered, deliberate or subdued, laborious strokes.

‘Nocturne Interlude #1’

‘Nocturne Interlude #3’

The themes, of course, are open to interpretation. But just like Wilwayco’s previous masterpieces, the ones in “Jazz/Nocturne Interlude” are ever as compelling—a feast for the senses and a journey for the soul that commands feelings of awe, satisfaction, and complete surrender.

“Jazz/Nocturne Interlude” will be the very first exhibit on view at the newest Galerie Joaquin One Bonifacio High Street Mall beginning Nov. 21, 2021.