When Ondoy struck several years ago, Lynyrd Paras saw his home at Araneta Avenue along with his art works and his life – inundated in the deluge. He camped temporarily in Pandacan, moving finally to a bucolic suburb in Laguna. Paras is now at a place in his life where he has been looking back and gathering the detritus, finding in the odds and ends undiscovered meanings and reasons, discerning in the jumble of the past the resources of his present. “FOUND” is nakita: to finally see, come to understand the meaning of things.

Paras has gathered the instruments of his art into assembled glass container in the shape of a house, entitled “Used”. The work alludes to the fact that his art was used – has enabled him – to construct not only a physical home, but a secure family life. A diptych entitled “Accident” showing a painting of his hand – pintado from the wrist on up – beside a model of a polychrome plastic skeletal hand, conjures the memory of his arm shattered in a skateboarding incident. Looking back, he realizes that all “accidents or discontinuities in fact are logical. He broke his left arm, which has permitted him full use of his right hand to create art.

His house and studio in Bulacan has been left unused because of a dispute over ownership of the land. His frustrated dream finds expression in a triptych entitled “Home”. The left image shows a side elevation of the house. At the center, a photographic transparency lit from behind shows the actual house. On the right is a painting of the house, emblazoned with letters forming Ang Bahay, Ang Gawaan (The House, The Studio). This episode in the artist’s life is not useless, for it serves as the subject for a work of art.

The artist gathers the unused and broken parts of resin sculptural toys he did for a show into a cabinet reminiscent of a printer’s box (where typefaces were organized in compartments). The image of the same disparate parts put together, was then painted by Paras: the artist has managed somehow to make the broken, whole.

The same process of reconstitution is referred to by the artist in a diptych entitled “Love”, where on the left, the parts of a skull lie broken, symbolizing defeat; and on the right, a skull, which, though darkened and cracked, is complete, signifying survival despite odds. Destruction and survival co-exist because it is out of their interpenetrating dialectic that integrity of the heart emerges.

A philosophical epiphany is narrated by the artist in the work, “Faith”. An eroded plaster Jesus, installed in a niche at the left, was a serendipitous fin: His Sacred Heart had been lost to the elements. Paras inscribed Asa Puso ng Tao over the painting of his image made whole again, because everything is about having heart, the ability to put belief beyond reason.

The work entitled “Painting” is Lynyrd’s thesis on art. Scattered all over the painting are the instruments of his work: brushes, oil pigments, palette knife, paper, crossed stretcher, and canvas stapled over the frame. But all those tools and materials are only things. The art lies in the artist’s discernment of the hidden human face, the forces that impel the hands, the reasons that convince the sitter to still movement and let creativity happen.

Through art, Lynyrd Paras found his center.

  • Ramon N. Villegas
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