Upon entering Alberto Mielgo’s debut solo exhibition Solo the viewer is met with a map. A simple diagram that outlines the gallery space with numbers presented in a disjointed sequence scattered throughout opposite ends of the expansive GR Works. Inscribed on the map is a brief message written by Mielgo, “This map will help you to follow the story behind these paintings. A story told in chronological order through painting. A personal story, probably similar to your own one, somewhat confusing, and, why not, complex as the order I ask you to follow.” That single piece of paper quickly becomes a companion and roadmap for the viewer to traverse the gallery space in a zigzag line dance to reveal the connection between the models.
The female body is captured in a patchwork of loose brushstrokes. Like a writer who scribbles to chase a thought and lets the letters unravel like a ball of yarn, the brushstrokes feel spontaneous as if trying to capture the essence of a moment lest it’s soon forgotten. Rendered in a gestural stroke the hues of skin are subtleties of white, blue, pink, and beige and capture the models in various stages of dress and gaze. Each model represents a city inhabited by the artist and ultimately they are the ones guiding his journey. We begin with Aida an endless source of fascination with a body that casts a hypnotic spell over the artist, yet she remains mysterious to us because her face is hidden from view as if Mielgo is trying to preserve her memory.
Then we encounter isolation and loneliness in Solo, Despair, and Berlin characterized by forgotten hallways, emotional vacancy, and saturated colors. Mielgo’s work thrives when he encounters a model that possesses more than physicality but reflects beauty previously unknown. The people that surround us reflect who we are, and those mirrors absent we become empty and like Mielgo surrender to the disparity. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and that is Alice the final subject who appears fully clothed and seated on a chair. While we cannot see beyond the glass, her composure signals a reflection of the artist’s resolution that the journey has ended and a new one can begin. Alas the final painting is nearly parallel to the starting point indicating that our trek is also over.
All photos courtesy of Alberto Mielgo.