PERMANENT. March 30, 2010 -- West Gallery

"Untitled", oil on canvas, 72 x 48 inches - 2010

Rage and Beyond

text by; Jeena Rani Marquez-Manaois

Mark Andy Garcia paints from the very depths of his soul. He mines his young life and fills his canvases with his digs. The depth of his visual articulation of what he believes should be the primary source of his art speaks, too, of the depth of lived experience that belies his age. At 25, he has painted spiritual truths, deeply-seated grief and wrath, and a complex web of feeling all drawn from the realities of his own life. He does not want it any other way. He has a deeply-rooted conviction about the rootedness of his art in his being and persona.

Mark Andys self, as in what is Filipino, is a self that extends to his family. This fourth show journals the evolution of his responses to the events that surrounded his mother and younger sister. When 17-year old Raquel, whom her kuya Mark Andy had sent to school, left their home to be with the guy who had gotten her pregnant, Mark Andy saw how his mother would cry every night and bear it all in grieving silence; it was as if losing her 48-year old husband and mother at about the same time her daughter took off with an under aged lover were not enough.

In his sole untitled piece, he disembodies his rage and bewilderment when Raquel left home by creating a seven-footed beast expelled from the human figure executed with the forceful brushwork characteristic of his work. Then he physicalizes what his sister had done in Raquel and My Heart where a female figure who slices a human heart with a Macbethan dagger dominates the canvas as a solitary image. But he does not oversimplify the scenario. His carefully chosen hues refer to what he perceives as his sisters possible misgivings about his apparent but misunderstood apathy.

Mark Andy believes that his mother is a quiet embodiment of his grief multiplied, so he puts her in his vision of the most miserable place on earth in My Mother.  He continues his exploration of the neo-expressionist mode of emphasizing his reactions to an experience in Walk with a Knife. Mark Andy earnestly goes for authenticity of feeling but breaks free from realist conventions. While he exercises control in the creation of the figure in Walk with a Knife and adds a dimension of movement to it, he confidently allows spontaneity to take over in the painting. 

Whisper is a detailed development of his Fire on my Right Arm from Mark Andys third show. In this painting where a riveting image of a skeletal and demi-demonic being whispers to a male figure, he acknowledges the more macabre aspects of his humanity, again in the context of chronicling his reaction to his sisters elopement.

Vacant Chairs transitions from images of raw emotion to a more perspectively distanced but no less compelling image of his familys dining room of mismatched furniture and empty chairs previously occupied by his father who had passed, his brother who is working abroad, his sister Raquel, and himself. The empty chairs explain his mothers vacant stare in the only face in the scene painted blue. Mark Andy boldly and unapologetically makes a reference to his abiding faith in the One whose eyes watch over his family in his absence.

Mark Andy moves from rage to mellow melancholy in My Father Beneath the Upo Vine where he positions his father sitting where he would usually sit every time Mark Andy would come home. When his father died, Andy came home to a row of candles and an empty seat beneath the vines. In the painting the father is vertically juxtaposed with the candles and Mark Andy the son comes home as usual.

Comforter speaks volumes about Mark Andys cherished faith in an unseen hand. The absolutist question the painting poses is, Who is the real comforter of a mother preoccupied with domestic concerns? Mark Andy the son and his double-edged sword (the Book that pierces the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart)? The glass of water? The memory of a beloved dead husband? At some point Mark Andy had thought it was the caring and dutiful son but later realizes it is their Heavenly Father who soothes their wearied souls.  Mark Andy says if he had no faith, he would drown like countless others in a world devoid of hope.

Black Sea is Mark Andys expression of his desperate need of the God of his life. Figures gasping for air, to him, represent the self-reliant who brave lifes storms with their own resolve.  Mark Andy says he is unlike the self-reliant in that he is acutely aware that without God, whose love is constant and permanent, he knows he will not survive whatever befalls him.  His mother reappears in Black Sea as a figure waiting for him with open arms.

A solitary image of himself appears in Self-Portrait, now as a persona that has moved beyond the rage of his untitled painting. Here Mark Andys persona is deliberately distanced from others perceptions and judgment of what his life with his family has become.

Mark Andy pays homage to Van Gogh in Sunflowers and With Van Gogh. In the midst of his family ordeal, Mark Andy had been reading the celebrated painters letters, some of which explicitly expressed Vincent Van Goghs faith in God. Van Gogh for Mark Andy is the artist with the most profound understanding of art and the artists life.

Dream ends the gloom with Mark Andys persona, still inhabiting a stark and dark space, peeping through a hole into the realm of What Could Be: his idyllic vision of a life, both physical and spiritual, lived with his family in a space distinguished by Mark Andys happier hues.

"My Sister and My Heart". oil on paper, 30 x 22 inches - 2010

"My Mother In Front of Dark Background". oil on paper, 30 x 22 inches - 2010

"Walk With a Knife". oil on paper, 30 x 22 inches - 2010

"Whisper". oil on paper, 30 x 22 inches - 2010

"Vacant Chairs". oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches - 2010

"My Father Beneath The Upo Vine". oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches - 2010

"Black Sea. oil on canvas, 72 x 48 inches - 2010

"The Comforter". oil on canvas, 72 x 72 inches - 2010

"Self Portrait". oil on canvas, 48" x 24" - 2010

"With Van Gogh". oil on canvas, 27 x 17 inches - 2010

"Van Gogh's Sunflowers". oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches - 2010

"Dream".  oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches - 2010