White Symbol was painted by National Artist Jose Joya in the midst of developing his abstract expressionist aesthetic. This was when Joya was studying abroad and immersing himself in Western art and different styles of abstraction.
The variety of forms and impasto brushstrokes in this painting is balanced by the neutral colors in the background. The off-white, brown, and olive green pigments adhere to his technique of transparent layering, the paint scrapings and incisions of the palette producing the variegated shapes, peaks, and troughs. Yet even with the presence of these various elements, one can appreciate the consummate skill of the artist for imbuing the work with a restrained elegance.
Literature: Joya by Francisco Arcellana (Dick Baldovino Enterprises, Manila, 1996), p. 79