“At that moment I realized the metaphor between the beauty and fragility of flowers and the beauty and fragility of freedom,” Pablo Diaz Carballo said in his opening artist statement for his newest exhibit, “Flowers and Freedom.”
Fragile is quite the opposite of what viewers see walking into “Flowers and Freedom” at the Manhattan Arts Center. Vibrant hues hit viewers like a bus when they enter the humble gallery. The initial visual impact is beautiful yet bold. The collection of work might need a rebrand; because of the artworks’ aggressive color palette, the collection can hardly be considered fragile.
This is not to say the artworks aren’t impressive; Carballo’s use of color in his paintings is skillful, and the arrangement of pieces within the gallery allows each individual work to complement another.
The gallery is easily navigable, because each piece seemingly flows into the next. As the viewer stands in front of a canvas and takes in its bright greens, the deep oranges on the canvas to the right draws them further into the gallery. While each piece is different, the floral theme carries through the entire gallery nicely.
“Three Black Flowers” and “Midnight Train” are the stars of the show. The striking blue, red and yellow acrylics make quite the vivid statement. Sitting next to each other, they appear to be inverses; the use of opposing primary colors makes them pop.
“Memories of my grandma” is a brown and white tableau and one of the only framed pieces that is hidden away at the back of the gallery. Its dainty flowers sit in a dark umber vase and look like they could topple over at any moment. The fragile depiction is perhaps the only artwork that aligns with Carballo’s intent for the exhibit. It leaves the viewer wondering why it is not the focal point of “Flowers and Freedom.”
The Manhattan Arts Center is tucked away south of campus, but don’t let the location discourage you. The exhibit is only open until Saturday, so if you want to catch Pablo Diaz Carballo’s work you must visit soon. “Flowers and Freedom” is a hidden gem; though the exhibition might need a rebrand, it’s definitely worth a stop.