Fernando Modesto’s latest solo exhibition at MO_Space, titled Rewind: Drawings, Lithographs & Paintings 1983–2008, is a partial survey of the widely acclaimed artist’s drawings, lithographs and paintings that were created within a 25-year period.
A raconteur who spins tales through his art, Modesto has created a body of work that is colorful, witty, irreverent, naughty and humorous, and, at the same time, pensive and full of melancholy. This exhibition charts these qualities that have long been associated with the artist and reflects a practice grounded on the immediacy of direct visual experience.
Since the 1970s, Modesto has worked with a variety of expressive materials and forms, including figurative paintings and color fields, and found objects that reveal his interests in allegorical narratives, literature and spiritual themes, as well as banal ones drawn from everyday life.
Part of the Shop 6 group of artists, Modesto playfully mocked established artistic conventions amid the political turbulence of martial law with his installations and assemblages using perishable and common materials. In his other works, he juxtaposed erotic imagery, lovers, angels, celestial bodies, roses, palettes, marbles, texts and twirling tops. He refutes the artist’s perceived role as a harbinger of the mysterious; rather, he sees his works as affirmations of the artist’s sense of self.
Modesto studied at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila and Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London. He has exhibited widely in the Philippines and Indonesia, where he was based for nearly 20 years.
His works have also been shown as part of the Philippine printmakers exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall in London; Third Asian Show and Contemporary Art Exhibition, both at the Fukuoka Art Museum; VII Biennal International del Arte de Valparaiso in Chile; Exposicion International de Dibujos en Brusque in Brazil; Rassenga Internationale di Arte Postale in Turin; the Etajima International Mail Art Show in Hiroshima; the Kunsan International Modern Art Exhibition; and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Traveling Exhibition from 1988 to 1989.
He has received several awards, including the Thirteen Artists Award from the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 1974 and the Grand Prize at the Artists’ Association of the Philippines Annual Competition in 1981.
Aside from painting, he also taught at the University of the Philippines’s College of Fine Arts and worked as a designer, creating numerous posters for other artists’ exhibitions and performances, as well as his own shows.
He also did the production design and art direction for films such as Mike de Leon’s Sister Stella L. and Hindi Nahahati ang Langit.
His most recent solo exhibition, Anonymous, was held at the West Gallery in Quezon City in August 2014.
Rewind: Drawings, Lithographs & Paintings 1983–2008 will run until February 15. MO_Space is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For inquiries, call (632) 856-7915 or 0917-6683951, or visit www.mo-space.net.