By Mercy S. Tolentino
Sym is Sofronio Y. Mendoza. He is one of those who have turned
the direction of Philippine art from abstractionism back to conservatism
or representational art. His choice of subjects and the realistic
effect of his impressionistic brush strokes express what he declares
as the truthfulness of the artist to the environment and the people
and his experience with both. It is the perception of the artist,
as already philosophized by his working knowledge of some bare
facts of living, which gives the substance, the souls of his works,
One -man Show
SYM displays his recent oils, watercolors and pastel works in
his 6th one-man show at the ABC Galleries, Harrison Plaza starting
November 4 through November 14. SYM is recipient of six major
prizes in six major international painting contests. He is one
representational painter shi learned to draw comic characters
first before he leaned to write his name. SYM's interest in art
was indeed manifested early as early his crying over an airplane
which vanished behind the miscoloring of a cloud of blue on a
ruled Grades 1 paper. His talent continued to be cultivated -from
his batman cartoons in exchange for notebooks to sketches of the
captain of the ship during his first trip to Manila, this time
in exchange for a first confronted with the big city whose first
brush with it and with its frank roamed the streets of Mabini
in search for his friend's friends, for whoever will give him
a job and whoever will help him pursue his art.
His hard rural life took on a different shade in the city. He
had to miss his meals and has to spend some nights on the cold
Luneta walks. But SYM was growing in experience and in self-confidence.
After his UST and UE fine arts years and after having shows,
exhibited in 11 different shows, he gained full mastery of all
the media in painting. As such, his control of oil, watercolor,
pastel and charcoal has enabled his to "artistically philosophize"
everyday scenes and events and sum them op in significant compositions.
His works being exhibited at ABC Galleries beat the mark of maturity,
of consummation of style and innovative techniques and of beautiful
elevation of everyday scenes into universal and timeless events
and experiences in art.
Consider his "Market Vendor" (pastel): The intense
strokes focus the viewer's eyes to the center of interest the
back of the vendor's heavy flow of a piece of cloth around the
head shoes tilt together raised arm conveys the hard day's work
and the long hard wait.
In "City Streets" (watercolor), SYM portrays a gloomy
array of run-down hoses that bear the mark of past several decades
lining empty streets on which reads a depict the passing of time
and the turning of eras. In his "Madonna and Child"
in pastel, SYM regards woman as the center of creation and thus
regards her with affection. His strokes take on a gentle lightness
and fragility. Soft lines, intricate curls, the fluid lightness
of tough, an affectionate look, the innocent dependence of the
baby as he rests his head the unspoken endearment all seen to
breathe life into the work.
But until this time, SYM still feels that he has not fully embodied
the workings of his mind and his emotions in his art. He still
craves for a higher level of artistic expression. Sym is indeed
and eternal student of the forces of the earth and man.