Physician-sculptor finds beauty in nature’s flaws
By Marge C. Enriquez
Philippine Daily Inquirer
November 24, 2014 at 7:30 am
SAGAT found in the garden becomes a relief of a woman holding a trunk. PHOTOS BY NELSON MATAWARAN

SAGAT found in the garden becomes a relief of a woman holding a trunk. PHOTOS BY NELSON
MATAWARAN

While walking along Talisay in Tagaytay, Dr. José T. José, chanced upon a volcanic rock wrapped around a small fig tree. Seeing the potential of its earthly allure, he brought it home and started sculpting, following the rock’s contours.

As an ear, nose and throat specialist and cosmetic surgeon, José sought to carve the face of a beautiful woman. But as he chiseled, the tip of her nose accidentally chipped off.

Applying aesthetic science, he got the root hairs of the fig tree and grafted her nose.

“It gave more meaning to the piece which I call ‘Gaiea,’” said José.

The sculpture will be shown as part of a group show, “Alay Sining,” at The Gallery in Greenbelt 5, Nov. 27-30.

The show is a fundraising project of the Rotary Club of Makati West. Beneficiary is the Gift of Life Foundation for the Philippines’ program Saving One Heart at a Time, which pays for the heart surgeries of indigent patients.

Sculptor Jinggoy Buensuceso, the show’s curator, is expecting the participation of over 50 artists.

Buensuceso said about the physician’s work: “I like the surrealism, yet there’s a realistic representation in his sculpture. One can see his sincere efforts.”

José’s organic sculpture is a celebration of the natural and the full-bodied. His art integrates the roughness of nature with the sheen of manmade materials and an individualistic design sensibility.

His work has form and grace, but he leaves other parts of his base material untouched, allowing the intrinsic beauty of the wood or rock to shine through.

Each work embraces the uniqueness of nature as he exposes the craggy surfaces of stones, and knots and bores of tree trunks.

MANGROVE root with wood worm, gold-tinted aluminum mesh and steel-rod legs

MANGROVE root with wood worm, gold-tinted aluminum mesh and steel-rod legs

From a slab of old wood salvaged from an ancestral home, José sculpted the silhouette of a woman with flailing hair.

“I have a knack for seeing things in nature. I follow the form and refine it,” he said.

A worm-eaten mangrove root becomes a torso with aluminum-wire-mesh arm, chest, neck and face and steel-rod legs.

A piece of driftwood is shaped into a hand that holds a samurai sword, a souvenir from his Japanese-Filipino partner, Dr. Angela Dacores.

A sagat trunk from a garden is fashioned into a woman embracing a barren trunk.

To the sculptor, trees and rocks are custodians of everything sacred. They deny themselves to provide a better world by giving people cleaner air. They also provide shelter and food for human sustenance.

“In the end, as a cosmetic surgeon, I try to be anatomically correct,” said Dr. José T. José.

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