Photo from http://www.salvadorlaurel.com/biography/

Leon Gallery and the Salvador H Laurel Foundation present ESPRESSIÓ: A Laurel Family Art Exhibit to commemorate the 91st birth anniversary of Vice President Doy Laurel and celebrate the visual artistry of the Laurel Family with a benefit exhibit show on 18 November 2019, Monday, at the Leon Gallery International.

Vice President Salvador “Doy” Roman Hidalgo Laurel served under Corazon C Aquino’s presidency from 1986 to 1992 hails from the Laurel Family of Tanauan, Batangas.  He authored the “Justice for the Poor Laws,” the so-called Laurel Laws, and run the Lyceum of the Philippines University, which his father founded, as one of the country’s leading educators.

Considered as one of the Philippines’ most influential and powerful political families, the Laurels long history of government service and statesmanship peaked when patriarch Jose P Laurel became President of the Second Philippine Republic from 1943 to 1945 during the Occupation Period after having served as senator-congressman and as associate justice, making him the only Filipino to serve all three branches of the government.

The Laurels in PH Art

Politics and governance, however, are just two of the many turfs that the Laurels excelled in. The family has also produced some of the most accomplished Filipino artists not only in the performing arts—with Cocoy, Iwi, Denise, Nicole, Franco, and Ayen Laurel in the fields of theater, broadcast, and music—but also in fashion with Rajo Laurel and in the visual arts.

It is known among the artistic circles that Doy’s wife Mrs Celia Diaz Laurel, who in her youth was hailed “Queen of Legitimate Theater”, is also an accomplished painter and visual artist, which set the foundation for ESPRESSIÓ.

Curated by Leon Gallery, this commemorative show gathers the works of Mrs Laurel alongside masterpieces by Victor “Cocoy” Laurel, Iwi Laurel, Celine “Lynnie” Laurel Castillo, and Monica Laurel Delgado.

Celia Diaz Laurel, who studied painting at the UP School of Fine Arts under masters Fernando Amorsolo and Guillermo Tolentino, both National Artists, with Napoleon Abueva, Jose Joya, also National Artists, Araceli Dans, and Juvenal Sanso as her contemporaries. She has starred in many plays of Repertory Philippines as a Yale schooled dramatic actor for stage. For ESPRESSIÓ, Mrs Laurel presents five masterful oils on canvas featuring among others a still life, a landscape, and two portraits, including one of daughter Lynnie.

Victor “Cocoy” Laurel, a matinee idol better known in the fields of TV, movie, theater, and concert stage, is not only a composer but also a master portraitist. He studied Fine Arts in the Ciudad Universitario de San Fernando in Madrid, Spain, before he was cast alongside Nora Aunor in the film Lollipops and Roses. Hence, for ESPRESSIÓ, his five portraits in oil on canvas includes his classic depictions of mother Celia, sister Denise, and of the Superstar!

Celine “Lynnie” Laurel Castillo, who began as Bayleaf’s fashion designer in the 80s and has ventured into songwriting, has long been fascinated with the allure and mystery of wood as an artistic medium and subject. Thus, for ESPRESSIÓ, Lynnie showcases eight inspired and inspiring coffee wood tableaus with moss and brass. This sculpture sequence captures the elusive narrative of building a family using three-dimensional space.

Iwi Laurel, the youngest of Doy Laurel’s daughters, is better known as a singer, less known as a watercolor hobbyist, but has been formally launched as coffee artist in 2011 with her first solo exhibit. Intrigued and enamored by Barako coffee, she combines this organic medium and with acrylics and gels to come up with the five mixed media atmosphere pieces in ESPRESSIÓ.

New York-based Monica Laurel Delgado completes the Laurel Family Exhibit by flying in her fantastic experiments on and with paint as both medium and subject for her starkly vivid and powerful abstractions.  Thus, for ESPRESSIÓ she combines her highly conceptual theoretical oeuvres with her penchant to extend the limits of her medium with seven daring statements on form, color, and content.

ESPRESSIÓ: A Laurel Family Art Exhibit will open on November 18, Monday, at 4PM the Leon Gallery International, G/F Corinthian Plaza along Paseo de Roxas in Legazpi Village, Makati City, and will run until December 1, Sunday.