Kendall Colindon & Clark Manalo

January 23, 2021

GRAND CAROUSEL - Clark Manalo, Acrylic on Canvas, 48 x 48 inches, 2021


Written by Gwen Bautista

Almost a year after COVID-19 had started to meddle in our daily lives, scenes of people donning face masks and face shields are becoming more ordinary as they used to be. The drastic changes brought by fear and dread have suddenly conquered our bodies and minds, but perhaps, there must be something worth taking from these inevitable situations. “Active Now” deliberately digests such instances where optimism and recovery manifest through the works of artists Kendall Colindon and Clark Manalo. The exhibition sheds light on familiar scenarios that might have looked quite outlandish before the year of the pandemic.

Kendall Colindon’s paintings sift through the daily struggles with transportation, which were made more unbearable with all the social distancing measures due to the Coronavirus. Subdued colors dominate these narratives where images of people travelling around the city by buses, jeepneys, and trains produce a sense of normalcy even under unprecedented times. What looks like apocalyptic tableaux of people wearing personal protection equipment have also become moments of strength.

On the other hand, the use of glitch and distortion in Clark Manalo’s works for this exhibition represents the sudden interruption and disturbance of the pandemic in our lives. Different illustrations of the mundane and the trivial are rendered in layered and stratified images that hint at the complexities of life amplified by our collective experiences with the situation at hand.

What ties these works together is the artists’ consensus of the disruption and challenges we face as a community. The gravity of the transformation may seem controlled and in harmony in these paintings, but the artists dare ask us to look more closely and weigh in the heaviness of these truths. With the exhibition’s title drawn from the status of a person’s social media presence, “Active Now” declares there’s no more room for being idle and lethargic. With all that we have been through, another day is a new opportunity for an encouraging future.