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Roger San Miguel
The Philippine Master of Impressionism

NORMA HENNESSY

 

Love (Mother and Child)A lot has been written about the art of Roger San Miguel but no one has quite succinctly put it as Justin Nuyda:

'At the threshold of our century stands the art of painter Roger San Miguel who imposes on us his strong belief that rendering the simplest objects, realistic, abstract or non-objective, can be a summit of perfection, showing the concentrated qualities and power of a great mind.'

Often dubbed as the 'Father of Filipino Impressionism,' Roger fits perfect well into the mod of a living institution.

Superlative expressions of awe and admiration are often attached to his work. In the article "Buhi's Serene Painter" written by fellow artist Elmer Sergio (Mirror Weekly, March 1, 1999), Sergio wrote that no less than poet and critic Federico Licsi Espino described him as a 'virtuoso' in reference to his uncanny 'virtuosity with the music of colours.'

Indeed, in his unassuming mold of an art genius is a man of serene imagination whose magnificent imageries are above reproach and from which, the outpouring of colours dance to life.

Roger San Miguel was born (Rogelio) on September 12, 1940 in San Pascual, Buhi, Camarines Sur to local barber Flaviano San Miguel and his wife Celedonia San Miguel. He took up Fine Arts at the University of Santo Tomas under the sponsorship of Filipino philanthropist and art connoisseur - Don Ramon Camacho of Cagayan de Oro. Having decided to establish himself in Manila,  he married his childhood sweetheart - the former Mercy Pabon Estrella of Pili, Bicol on April 17, 1966. They are blessed with four sons and a daughter who is currently in secondary school. Of the sons, two were Fine Arts graduates of UST, one was an Architecture graduate of Letran, and one is a practising psychologist.

San Miguel's work contain a supremely enigmatic touch that sets it apart from other artists' work. Wherever his work might have found a niche, the genius in it immediately takes on a visual magic. His art illustrates the beauty of the east, the wonders of the tropics that make the Orient a virtual paradise for the eyes, heart and soul.

In his work, the quaint interplay of colours and shadows are interwoven in gentle contours and thoughtful harmony. The overall impact is a never ending eye-opener. For just as when the viewer has decided that he had seen it all, Roger's imageries take on something intriguingly wondrous, never ceasing to amaze. His art teases the mind of even the harshest and often more fastidiously unforgiving art critics.

San Miguel's wide array of clientele and followers come from all walks of life, ranging from friends, tourists, local and international art collectors, artist colleagues, local and international gallery owners, celebrity art connoisseurs, academicians, art lovers, interior designers, decorators, art students and homebodies.

Ever modest yet aesthetically adventurous, and at times uncompromisingly vocal, Roger San Miguel is the personification of the quintessential artist. He holds an unwavering respect of the simple things in life, therefore drawing out through his images, an otherwise invisible magic from the most mundane to the more complex realities around us.

His long list of local and international expositions from 1961 up to the present include art festivals in Caracas, Valenzuela (1967), Vancouver, Canada (1967), Sydney and Canberra, Australia (1967), Lund, Sweden (1972), Tokyo, Japan (1972), London (1973), Amsterdam (1974), Nyde, South Africa (1976), Jerusalem, Israel (1978), Oslo, Norway (1979), Zurich, Switzerland (1980), Munich, Germany (1987), Denmark (1990), Bali and Jakarta, Indonesia (1992, 1995), and Hong Kong (1996). His more recent exhibitions were at the Cultural Centre of the Philippines (1998) and Ayala Museum (1999).

He is a current member of The Art Association of the Philippines (AAP), Paranaque Photography Society (PPS) and the Philippine Association of Printmakers (PAP).

While he currently lives in Paranaque with his family, his art work continues to travel far and wide and has been on an increasing demand.

(Inquiry on Roger San Miguel's work may be forwarded to the author through emanila.com)

20 June 2000