Beginning in early February, visitors to INAI: A Space Apart will have the opportunity to view artwork that ranges from intense commentary on current events or ordinary daily life to colorful depictions of life in Ecuador or in a land of fantasy.
Works by Carlos Tobar will open on Friday, February 2, 2024, and close on Sunday, April 21, 2024, at INAI, an art gallery adjacent to Weber Retreat and Conference Center. An opportunity to meet the artist is offered from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday, February 3, 2024. The Artist’s Reception is from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, 2024.
A native of Ecuador, Carlos and his wife Rachel have been residents of Adrian since 1985. A retired graphic artist and commercial offset printer, Carlos has lived out his passion throughout his life: depicting world events, ordinary events, and the joy of life through painting and other media, including stone, wood, block printing, and mosaics.
“I always say I paint the truth,” Carlos said. “I want people to see what is going on in the world.” For Carlos, truth includes commentary on the difficult situations of life and current events. “One painting shows what a mother is feeling in Israel, the pain at the moment,” he said. Moved by the war in Iraq, he painted When Men Become Animals. “The feelings of my heart I put into that painting,” he said, adding that he used exaggeration in the faces, hands, and arms to depict his feelings toward the war.
But Carlos also sees the truth in people’s everyday lives – and his hometown in Ecuador. In one painting, Moments of Happiness, he used bright colors to depict people dancing for joy. He also painted scenes from Ecuador, such as the jungle surrounding the town where he was raised, an open-air fruit market, and the chickens raised on his family farm. “For me, it’s to have a good time remembering,” he said. He often uses his paintings from Ecuador to share his memories with his four children and eight grandchildren. At the same time, he also likes to introduce an element of fantasy into his colorful paintings. “In my paintings, everything is possible,” he said.
Despite his desire to depict the truth, Carlos never tells his viewers how to interpret his paintings. “I like it when the viewers interpret it themselves,” he said. “The paintings speak for themselves.”
Along with the paintings, Carlos will exhibit some of the many drawings that are often the basis for his paintings. “My mind is working, working, working,” he explained. “During the pandemic, I was very busy, using the time, and I produced many drawings. Some I will turn into a work on canvas, and some I will call a drawing.”
Visitors are welcome to come to INAI anytime to view exhibits or find a quiet place for reflection. INAI is currently open daily from 9:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m., and beginning February 2 will be open until 6:00 p.m. For other hours, call 517-266-4090 to make an appointment.
Weber Center is on the campus of the Adrian Dominican Sisters Motherhouse, Adrian, Michigan. Traveling east on Siena Heights Drive, pass the Adrian Rea Literacy Center and turn left just before the solar panel-covered parking lot. Follow the signs to Weber Center. For information, call the Weber Center at 517-266-4000.