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Rico Lascano invites us to a space of calmness

A relief from anxiety.

By Terrence Repelente

Expanse, acrylic on canvas, 48″ x 144″ x 2″

In his 20 years as an artist, Rico Lascano has explored all possible genres, techniques, and materials. But like a giant river with vast currents that eventually finds itself flowing toward an ocean, Rico’s art is constantly directed to a familiar destination. “In my journey as an artist, I’ve always been drawn to one realm,” he says. “The realm of calm, spiritual space.”

His ongoing show, “Quietude,” which is exhibited at the Altro Mondo Creative Space, he says, is a manifestation and a glimpse of this cycle. Known for his sparsely-colored and tranquil paintings, Rico once again makes use of nature’s ability to calm the human soul. “My concept has always been about creating a balance of the natural and spiritual landscape,” he says. “I take inspiration from nature—the quiet pond, the waterfall, the heavenly sky. Natural things that make us pause and reflect on life.”

Like a traditional Japanese haiku, Rico’s works, such as the Serenity Series, emphasize simplicity and, at the same time, intensity, bringing in a spectrum of emotions. Seamlessly, he translates images of nature on his canvas. These images—skies, trees, rocks, water, sceneries—evaporate into feelings and atmospheres. 

Rico intends to take those who view his art to join him on a deep journey to his so called “space of calmness.” It isn’t surprising that most of his collectors acquire his work for its soothing and spiritual effect. “A long-time art collector of mine said that she placed the painting directly in front of her bed because that’s the one she’d like to see every morning the moment she opens her eyes,” he says.

‘Painting begins where language fails.’

Unlike many artists, Rico does not consider himself a storyteller. He has no narrative to tell. Instead he sees himself as a creator of spaces that provide serenity, for those who wish to rest their weary minds and drained spirits. “I want those who consume my art to find their own solace,” he says.  He quotes the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso: “The responsibility of interpreting a painting lies not with the artist but with the beholder.”  Rico believes that a person’s reading of a painting is a reflection of their own unique experiences.

On the other side of this symbolic exchange, Rico believes that art, especially painting, is the highest form of human expression. “My art making process has always been meditative. I spend a lot of time contemplating on the empty space of the canvas before touching the brush or before finally laying a first stroke,” he says. “It is true that it is easy to paint, but what’s hard is knowing how to put yourself in the transcendent state of painting. And, for me, the greatest battle has always been disciplining myself not to crowd the spatial elements.”

In this time of global cynicism and suffering, Rico believes that his art becomes more relevant. He borrows the words of Nobel prize winner for literature Gao Xingjian: “Painting begins where language fails.” “In this stressful pandemic, I think my art has become more relevant. My art can become a refuge for the weary and the stressed,” he says. “Art critic Cid Reyes once noted that my art, ‘when seen against the brutishness of so much agitated gestural abstraction, are an oasis to the spirit, a relief from the hectic violation of space.’” 

Rico’s 16th solo show, “Quietude,” like pretty much all of his previous ones, are guided by the same intention. He admits, however, that he tries, as much as possible, to give a breath of fresh air, through fresh approaches to style, technique, and materials.

Ideologically, the ongoing pandemic has only made Rico’s philosophy and belief in art stronger. “These trying times have made my art more relevant,” he says. “Now it serves an even more meaningful purpose!” Described by critics as the “Lascano effect,” Rico’s art offers a peaceful mental refuge in this age of cold nihilism. “Art has all the potential to be a stress buster in this age of anxiety.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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