Blessed are the Flowers
art for a cause
2nd Major Art Exhibition
KIM BELEN SORIANO
July 8 - 14, 2004
Galerie Astra at the Art Pavillion
LRI Business Plaza, 210 Nicanor Garcia St.
Bel Air II, Makati City
What we see are flowers in the soul-fields. Orchids, hibiscus, bromeliads,
roses and other wonderful blooms in the Eden of Kim Belen Soriano. His paintings
are not at all transfixed on paper. We could still catch the fragrance and
secret of the flowers. As they are revealed to Kim, they are renewed in us.
Beautiful dazzling colors and strong vitality distinguish Kim's realistic
floral paintings, all rendered in oil pastel on felt paper. His art is made all
the more amazing by his life story. At age three, it became evident that Kim was
a special child. Thus, he had the eye of a minimalist. He would draw a window to
portray a house. A petal was a garden. He would declare he had drawn a bus
whereas he had simply etched one number from the vehicle's registration plate.
Surprisingly in his adolescent years, he excelled in sports, winning the
Special Olympics Gold Medals in track and field and swimming. But when he
undertook evaluation in preparation for his trip to the USA, he was declared
finely sound in mind and body, like any other youth of his age. Thus, he was
promoted regular student at Miriam College, but had to forego the Special
Olympics international competition.
Being the eldest son of Ricardo "Johnny" Soriano, Kim has always
been surrounded by prodigious works of art. Johnny has been crafting handmade
frames from such rare wood as narra and molave for more than 30 years. He was
and still is regarded the frame authority for artists like Ben Cabrera, Jaime
Zobel and Anita Magsaysay-Ho, just to name a few.
Overwhelming is the multitude of frames in different sizes hanging on walls
and every possible space of the Soriano house cum workplace. We find here
original paintings, sketches, portraits, landscapes, nudes, still life,
abstracts, sculptures and many others. They all come from famous clients who
have become Johnny's friends, proof of their esteem in which he is held for the
love and diligent care he puts into enhancing their works.
Kept intact for posterity are paintings of national artists like H.R. Ocampo,
Cesar Legazpi, Jose Joya, Vicente Manansala and Jerry Navarro. They were
Johnny's clients even while Kim was yet in the womb of his mother, Yoly Belen.
Johnny saw them rise increasingly to fame and eventually conferred the
distinguished status of national artist.
No less than the late master Jerry Navarro had taught Kim the fundamentals of
drawing and painting. As he brought his paintings for framing, Master Jerry also
brought art materials for the young sensitive Kim.
Now in the third decade of his life, Kim has cultivated a special gift in
painting the close view of flowers. In his pictures we sense the concentration
of his vision and energy, yet all the more powerfully our interest is enlarged.
We do not only receive invigorating freshness. We also witness lush patterns in
amazing expansion and contraction, and sparkling harmony.
We may regard Kim's art as a kind of communion with Mother Nature. He
receives her images as in a sacrament. For that is the great mystery of art. It
is a moment in eternity when the artist meets the beings in the world of light,
darkness and colors.
Like other good works of art, Kim's paintings connect us to the sacredness of
life. His flowers, acutely focused as they are, direct us inwardly to our own
heart, which beckons the blossoming of our own soul's beauty.
Kim paints at the Orchidarium Garden in Rizal Park where bouquets of nature
are nestled on cascading stems and arching branches against the backdrop of
glowing pond. His mentor today is Rafael Popoy Cusi, widely regarded the
Philippines' master watercolor artist and proponent of the use of oil pastel on
For the past three years, Popoy has been sharing his genius with a growing
crop of students and artists who call themselves the Orchidarium Artists Group,
of which Kim is a member. Advocating trust in spontaneous creativity, Popoy
urges artists to liberate themselves from the rigid rules of conventional
perspective and composition.
Rapid on-the-spot painting is characteristic of Popoy. That is why he
questions the imagination of artists who use photographs as source of themes and
motifs. "The resulting art is devoid of character and feeling!" he
sneers. Popoy expounds that best efforts are stimulated in the artist who taps
the highest power of direct observation.
Kim, who has a kind round face with soft mellow almond eyes, has thoroughly
imbibed the said practice of drawing from nature, without copying it. His
sustained attention and devotional intimacy with Mother Nature have refined his
own genuine style as a painter.
Healing and blessings are key elements in Kim's art and life. It has been a
marvelous spiritual journey for the whole Soriano family to experience moral and
material support pouring in from generous helpers. When Kim was a young boy
enrolled at the Special Children's Center, he was awarded scholarships through
magnanimous donors whose identity remains unknown until today.
Hence, it was not surprising for Kim to follow the serendipitous path of
healing and artistic journey as he was led to Lucena City. His first solo art
exhibition appropriately entitled, Blossoms of Healing was held here from April
to June at the Luisa Restaurant Gallery. Lucena is one of the communities
nurtured by Mount Banahaw, the country's veritable national shrine of healing
where millions of pilgrims flock yearly.
"When ripe for the task, Kim's naturalist eye and vigorous strokes of
colors will perhaps be summoned by the sacred mountain which is home to numerous
endangered Philippine blossoms," thus it was foretold by Maria Abulencia as
she featured the artist in a written article.
And now, Kim's second major exhibition immediately follows the first, this
time dubbed BLESSED ARE THE FLOWERS - art for a cause. Hoping to enlarge the
circle of kindness and gratitude, Johnny Soriano's R. S. FRAME LINE CENTER has
forged a tie with Robert Hong of GALLERIA BERNICE L.
They jointly sponsor Kim's exhibition, with the pledge to donate a percentage
of the proceeds from the sale of paintings to charity, such as: a church to be
built in Samar, and the work of nuns who take care of the sick and dying people
found on the streets of Asian cities.
It is quite suitable for the exhibit's invitation to include the image of the
Mother of Remedies. Such tribute to the Blessed Mother Mary is as luminous as
Kim's vocation to light, colors and healing.
BLESSED ARE THE FLOWERS - art for a cause is open for viewing from July 8 to
July 14 in Galerie Astra at the Art Pavillion located in LRI Business Plaza, 210
Nicanor Garcia Street, Bel Air II, Makati City.
For inquiries, please contact Johnny Soriano, Tel. No. (02) 802-0849 or
Robert Hong, Tel. No. 0916-5897090. (AUTHOR: Maria Lourdes B. Abulencia)
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