Provenance: Private Collection, Manila
Antonio Austria creates untutored expressions of everyday life. Rendered in a style frequently
devoid of perspective and proportion, the results display all the quirks and charm of great
folk art, while providing a unique window into the rich and colorful life of the everyday folk.
Austria is single-handedly the custodian of a homelier, more affecting in depicting a version of
the quotidian. Self-effacing, homey and imperturbable, Austria’s people are drawn with a kind
of sophisticated simplicity, with more character types than representations of flesh and blood.
Neither wholly happy nor wholly sad, they seem content with the even tenor of their days,
unbothered by any tragic sense of life. At his festive best, his figures are nearly overpowered
by the etchings of their world, as every square inch of pictorial space gets crowded with
miscellaneous elements. A student of the likes of Edades in the UST, Antonio Austria chose
to be completely yet happily not in step with his contemporaries in the painting world.
He is classed among those who practiced naive art, yet he is on a league all his own.