Strolling Through Life
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Vinyl on Vinyl Gallery presents Carl Modelo’s eagerly awaited first solo exhibition, Strolling Through Life, on September 21, Monday. Modelo explores relationships, family and art production while giving tribute to his father and other individuals essential to his existence. The artist manages to hide deep sorrow and his daily struggles with life and loss by painting humorous scenarios and colorful conehead characters he calls wanderers, yet each piece is imbued with emotion, detail and a remarkable narrative that fleshes out important memories from his recent past.
Modelo’s minimal backgrounds lets the viewer’s eye focus on his characters and lets us notice every pastel-colored quirk and well-defined line. Limbs thread holes and loop onto themselves, creating words that add different layers of meaning. The diptych Until We Meet Again feature erstwhile lovers who have been physically parted and are miserable now, but with hope still mean to be together someday as decreed in heaven. Friends Forever feature two coneheads in one body with differing expressions, one trying to cheer the other up with a banner of love, encouragement and support. Their feet keep still to let time catch up, for them to collect their composure and find the will to move forward.
One Man Band features a tiny triangle that echoes the shape of its seemingly befuddled central figure, who still manages to smile and makes an effort to sort itself out despite the very visible thorns that surround it and a panicking outer visage, still eager to fulfill its purpose despite getting its arms all tangled up in the multiple roles demanded of it. Survive 2020 Mr. Salary Man is portrayed on the same level, with a worker still striving to make a decent living despite the threat of illness and the uncertainties that pervade the pandemic. Little White Lies remind us of concocting intentional misdirections for other people to see things our way, or delude ourselves into thinking that things are better than they really are.
Different from the rest of Modelo’s works is Mr. Tough Love, as it features a hammer for its head instead of Modelo’s usual wacky characters. The domineering figure sports a saw in his right hand, while four skulls surround and present him to the public with fanfare. This is a central figure in the artist’s life, his father, a strict and quiet presence whose recent loss deeply affected him to the point that he couldn’t create art for a year. Though he wasn’t affectionate and physically demonstrative in showing his feelings, he personally taught Modelo how to make frames and stretchers for his paintings. An excellent carpenter, perhaps this is how he expressed his support for his son’s art practice, though he never attended any exhibition.
With Strolling Through Life, the artist reminds of the constant changes that we encounter as we walk through each day. We may not be aware of where our journey takes us, but we choose to trod on and move forward, taking the perils of travel with the beautiful sights we pass along the way. Love and reverence flow from Modelo’s brush, laden with words unsaid and feelings unexpressed, showing a depth of experience that he manages to translate on canvas in simple yet meaningful images. Stories are told by each of his wanderers, and we await expectantly for the next chapters to come.
Carl Modelo graduated with a Fine Arts major in Painting at EARIST. He started joining group shows in 2014, and has exhibited in Art in the Park, Manila Fame, Xavier Art Fair and ALT Philippines 2020.