Philippine Center Gallery
Manuel Rodriguez Sr., the father of Philippine contemporary printmaking, was one of the leading modernist painters from the 50s to the 70s in the Philippines. He came to the U.S in 1976 when the country was under martial law during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos.
Manuel Rodriguez Sr. is a crusader and art is his Holy Land. Expressing the universal language, he communicates an understanding of beauty and harmony that enriches our spirit. His storybook career includes work in traditional forms; parenting the graphic arts movement in his native Philippines; and ongoing explorations as an experimentalist painter. Whether teaching the traditional or breaking new artistic ground, Mang Maning is guided by a deep spiritual awareness and belief in the unity of all mankind.
He was born in Cebu City in 1915, He showed talent in drawing from the early age of five years when he drew faces on a church wall with a piece of limestone. He made toys and simulated movies, using a white bed sheet, paper cutouts and an oil lamp to entertain friends on dark moonless nights.
When he was older, he experimented with new tools and mediums. He developed a unique style of characterized by expressive distortion of forms, palpable rhythm, poetic symbols and collage. He often made “triggers small abstract pieces which could be found in his figurative paintings. “These abstract pieces are like sounds from piano keys. If I put lines they will have meaning. Lines give physical meaning,” he said. From 1949 to 1963, he consistently won prizes in the modern art category, until he stopped in order to devote himself to his crusade for printmaking.