If a painter and a photographer made a piece of art together, what might they create? Isabel Manalo's work is an answer to that question, working between painting and photography, including both photographic perspective and texture. Her twenty mixed media abstractions in enamel, acrylic, and cut photograph on Yupo, board, and Mylar closed this week at Addison/Ripley Gallery in Georgetown. The gallery also showed four related, small photographic digital c-prints.
The pieces are colorful and bright, full of yellow, green, red, and a Caribbean blue. The is a highly organic feeling to the works, and the color splash which forms the base of many of the pieces looks like a spoonful of dye released into the pure white waters of Manalo's backgrounds. The rest of each work seems to be a response to that original shape, other colors replying to the first, expanding and spreading the color. Here, Manalo works long strips and pieces cut from photographs into several of the paintings, like glimpses of other worlds or times. For the most part, the combination of mediums seems strictly formal, an easier way for Manalo to incorporate a visual complexity into her art.
Manalo is very successful in this incorporation, and the mixed media pieces form a wonderful collection. As the title of the exhibit suggests, each work forms a little ‘Bit of Elsewhere', an enjoyable view from the artist's imagination. Manalo's art is also technically impressive. The idea of this series seems potentially messy, but the paintings are careful and clean amidst the splatters of enamel. Before this series, Manalo had been making paintings of photographs that she had taken of trees and bushes, and then digitally whitewashed. Several of the new works resemble tall, thin trees and vines, so Manalo's interest in natural forms is still developing.
As Addison/Ripley Gallery continues to represent Manalo's work, the DC art world can be excited to see what directions her work takes next. To learn more about Manalo's work contact Addison/Ripley Fine Art.