The Figurative Mode
The early engravings on leather, the wood relief Stations of the Cross, the etching on glass, the stained glass panels, the acrylic and oil religious paintings, as well as the works on Bicol myths and legends constitute the figurative or representational side of his Pancho Piano’s art, especially when the subjects are religious images or the main characterized by predominant warm colors of red, yellow, and orange, exuding faith, optimism, and hope. Most of them are marked by teeming crowds of the praying faithful or peasant moving in work rhythms to the Bayanihan spirit of participation and corporation. Carlos Francisco’s murals have also stressed this paramount Filipino value that Pancho M. Piano also dealt with in his work.
But it is also important to note that the artist’s style in these historical and mythical figurative works are often integrated with abstract elements. Often, figures in the representational style are set against a background of abstract design and colors, dynamic lines and shapes. Even more, the style of figures and landscapes may veer away from strictly anatomical realism to show the cubist influence of restructuring the subject into the geometric shapes of transparent cubism that was the Filipino contribution to the original School of Paris style. But the Filipino artist is temperamentally more akin to synthetics cubism with its larger planes and decorative elements, than with the earlier analytical cubism which fragmented the figure into abstract codes.
In the works that blur the distinction between abstract and figurative, the basic principles are often light and space. In a number of his transitional works, a blazing light seems to surges upward from the divine zone, with the astounded multitudes reeling and separated to both sides. Likewise, the dynamic light in the center opens up space above and beyond the struggling earthbound figures on the ground.