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Sculpting the essence of a woman

To capture the grace and strength of the woman, one must balance the tranquil beauty and the powerful storms within, as per the latest solo exhibition of sculptor Daniel dela Cruz.

For him, there is something poetic in how women can be both tender and fierce, something he sought to convey through his chosen medium of metal. By adjusting factors like weight and durability, each piece teeters between strength and delicateness — much like women do.

“I aim for my works to look magical. A robust sculpture hanging on by a single, small point has a magical appeal to it,” he told BusinessWorld.

Mr. Dela Cruz’s pieces are of women practically floating in midair, attached only to a splint by a point at the leg or foot or an outstretched hand.

“That delicate balance is descriptive of women. Even the way the sculptures were made — metalworking requiring strength and balance — is descriptive of women,” he added.

At Galleria Nicolas in Makati’s Greenbelt 5, his exhibit “Unbridled” showcases the unbridled essence of woman through lustrous silhouettes formed from hard and sturdy metal. The figures, usually reaching high above, repre-sent women’s euphoric feats of success and ability to overcome obstacles.

This is not Mr. Dela Cruz’s first time to center on women, however. His early exhibits featured them, big-bodied and powerful. For his 25th solo exhibition, he decided it was time to return to form.

“Women amaze me. Women are people I admire a lot. Whether it’s mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, or lovers, there’s so many in my life that make me realize that women are unique, with their own distinct character,” he said in a Zoom interview. There was also no planning behind the timing of showing this appreciation through art.

“It’s funny that women’s month was last month. That really didn’t occur to me. I don’t think about when it’s time to appreciate them; I just do. It’s a nice coincidence,” Mr. dela Cruz added.

His background in sculpture, dating back 17 years, saw him naturally gravitate to metalwork, although he did try out other materials like ceramic, paper, and resin. With metal, he was pushed to seek out ways to execute unique concepts, like his recurring robust-bodied women muses.

All 10 of his new works are made of brass, copper, solder, and nickel.

“The main thing about metal that I like is that it is very durable. These are materials that are technically going to last forever and outlive me. It’s a nice thing for an artist to know that their works will still be there,” he said.

He also explained that the longevity of his drive to work with metal lies in his ability to innovate. Since he did not have any formal art training, no preconceived notions of metalworking stopped him. “I use techniques that I de-velop myself, and it allows me to put in intricate details,” he said.

For younger artists who have yet to reach that point, Mr. Dela Cruz said that it helps to take a good, hard look at the medium of choice and visualize uncommon means of using them. “Unbridled” came to fruition in this manner.

“The title refers to just how much a woman can do when free from shackles and limitations,” he said. “At the same time, in the form of lustrous metal, there’s a gentle, nurturing character, a contrast with innate characteristics like strength, tenacity, power.”

“Unbridled” will be on view at Galleria Nicolas in Greenbelt 5, Makati, from April 25 to May 4. — Brontë H. Lacsamana