Arts & Culture Featured

Rey Zipagan’s Paintings Evoke Emotion, Energy and Movement

By Amelie Maman

Unique and unmistakably his own, Rey Zipagan’s paintings convey a sense of movement and energy that is both exhilarating and calming. His use of color and light is masterful, and his ability to evoke emotion in the viewer is undeniable.

Passion for Art
Rey Zipagan paints in the social realistic tradition and focuses on the postcolonial realities of violence, corruption, and economic exploitation that profoundly affected him as a young man in Luzon, Philippines.


A Certain Kind of Skill

Do we continue to use the term “history painting”? If we do, we think of Goya, Delacroix, the Mexican Muralists; Riviera, Siqueiros: epic paintings that tell important stories. If such a term, and indeed such an approach to painting, is less common in our time, it may have to do with a change in our relationship with “history.” 

Mac Arthur

Caught in a Dream

If we are in a maelstrom of “histories,” even more credit goes to Rey Zipagan. His seemingly anachronistic approach, which explores such traditional approaches to painting, reassesses its significance, which includes a need for narrative. However, careful observers will notice that the artist is not averse to a plot twist.


Storyboards or Stage Sets

Rey Zipagan’s interest in cinema points reflects the painter as an auteur. Before sketching, his process is often initiated by having a film or image in mind. Brushstrokes in the works are like directions; they are executed directly to construct the actants, sharp and defined like a woodcut.

Black Nazarene

A Sense of Painterliness

This strong graphic element in the work, which also seems to contradict current “trends” in painting, sparks interest in comic books and graphic novels (which are also film). When painting is considered “illustrative,” it is often seen as a criticism, as if the painter is in denial of the substance of the paint. 

Trophies of War

Delineation of Forms

But Rey Zipagan’s approach to his works is both painterly and illustrative. He is interested in how style creates tensions in the materials with which an artist works.

Flower Whisper

Reminiscent of Great Masters

Rey Zipagan was compared to Eugene Delacroix, Francisco Goya and even a Filipino Rembrandt.

Peace Dreamer

If you are interested in finding out more about this artist or owning one of your own, please contact:

Amelie Maman at or call/text 917 970 9022.

About the author


News and art, national and local. Began as alternative weekly in 1990 in Buffalo, NY. Publishing content online since 1996.

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