Eden of Emotions

Eden of Emotions

It has been said that life does not begin at birth, but rather at the first expression of emotion. The first cry, the first smile, the first calming breath—these indications are like transcribed messages of the soul. However, one does not simply express through transcriptions. Flowers, bouquets, have been used to express heartfelt emotions.

In his latest body of work entitled “Eden of Emotions”, Rustom Cleofe “Ombok” Villamor graces this year’s ManilArt with the exciting yet delicate practice of floriography or the romantic cryptography of conveying secret messages through flowers. Noting the artist’s initial inclination towards coral-esque subjects (inspired by his seaside-Samar vistas), he continues to deviate from them with transformed floral annotations and organic representations. Similar to his previous exhibits entitled “Vivere” and “Living Nebulae”, Villamor’s latest set of artworks continues to embrace the idea of life and its living components. Through his floriography, Ombok enlivens his canvas with a garden of aesthetics but approached in a mysterious manner. His floriography is expounded upon through “coded” emotions.

Through his latest works, he glamorizes the heartbeat of life through ardent messages of flowers. His “Ranunculus” for instance, which translates to “I am amazed by your charm”, complements the contrast between its green and purple hues. “Black Velvet Petunia”, moreover, exudes the flower’s enigmatic color amidst its calming state which speaks of finding comfort in another’s company (“Your company is soothing”), as it blooms in the painting’s dark allure. His warmer subjects like “Peonies”, “Gardenias”, and “Carnation” capture similar cordiality in their orange, yellow and red shades—as if reflecting a person’s blush drawn from messages of happy relationships and fervent longing for loved ones.

Emotions and the way they are the expressed are the lifeblood of life itself as Villamor sees it. Villamor’s growing technique in concealing these emotions in abstracted floras, now expands as a garden filled with deep poetry. Recalling Frida Khalo’s belief, “I paint flowers so they will not die,” Villamor cultivates his works with a similar outlook; working through his palette, he cultivates sentiments that are peans to life.

Villamor (b. 1979) is an abstract painter from Samar. He is a professional graphic artist with a fine eye for traditional art. He graduated in North West Samar State University with a degree in Architecture. Like his mentor Raul Isidro, who hails from the same province, abstract elegance called for them through exciting colors and muted organic movements in negative spaces. Villamor, however, gravitates with his own style of more free-flowing and spontaneous executions. Villamor has received commendable citations like being a finalist in the Non-Representational Category at the 2015 GSIS Art Competition, and a semi-finalist in the Oil Category of the 2002 ArtPetron National Student Competition. He is currently living in Laguna, and has had two consecutive solo shows this year.