FOR DEAR LIFE

The Eagerness of a Soul

Acceptance is the last stage of grief. In For Dear Life, Mark Andy Garcia shares the most recent pages from his visual diary. The images reflect his mental and emotional state several years after personal tragedies overwhelmed him, the foremost of which was the death of his father.

Grief comes in waves. It is not one long sob that ends in silence but a series of unexpected paroxysms. For Dear Life offers 50 sketchbook-paper size drawings that revisit depression, sorrow, and a confusion of other feelings.

A continuation of the artists autobiographical art, this exhibition was created from a mature perspective that has been allowed time and distance to understand. The wounds are healing and Garcia is at liberty to examine them in a more detached manner. The raw anger and violence of Under the Watchful Eyes, his 2009 exhibition, has given way to introspection.


"I Clung to The Tree for Dear Life". oil on canvas, 8 x 8 feet - 2011




In between exhalations of mourning, he allows his mind to wander to the most random of subjects. A glance out a window yields a sketch of a man on a bicycle; a conversation, in turn, begets a hypothetical answer to a rude observation; ruminations on his favorite artists inspire tributes to Auguste Rodins nudes, Edvard Munchs expressionist explorations of the soul, and Vincent van Goghs spirituality as captured in deathbed portraits by Dr. Paul Gachet.

Garcias sketches are a revelation. They possess a kind of luminous straightforwardness not usually found in his heavily layered oil paintings. Drawn in an unpremeditated manner, these works on paper were created with whatever was available at that instant, at the precise moment of thought.

There was seldom any break between conception and creation. Experimenting with ink, charcoal, watercolor, and several combinations of these media, Garcia records the meanderings of his mind. Using his fingers and hands to spread the paint, he emphasizes the childlike nature of his art. His stream-of-consciousness scribbles remain, providing cryptic clues to the inner workings of his brain.

As a result of his Garcias playful artistic experimentation, For Dear Life possesses a variety heretofore unseen. My Mother, a dark seated portrait bathed in shadows, was done charcoal. A sketch of van Gogh, eyes closed and close to drawing his last breath, was done in ink (just like Gachets drawing). As Old as the Hills is a sensitive autumnal watercolor and Like a Drowned Rat is a frenetic layering of everything he could lay his hands on.


"I Clung to The Tree for Dear Life" (detail)

Garcias free and spontaneous strokes mirror his rapid speech. Instinct guides his hand in his sketches as it does in his paintings. The culmination of the artists freewheeling process is I Clung to the Tree for Dear Life, an oil-on-canvas measuring 8x8 feet. As Old as the Hills is a sensitive autumnal watercolor and Like a Drowned Rat is a frenetic layering of everything he could lay his hands on. Garcias free and spontaneous strokes mirror his rapid speech. Instinct guides his hand in his sketches as it does in his paintings. The culmination of the artists freewheeling process is I Clung to the Tree for Dear Life, an oil-on-canvas measuring 8x8 feet.

A devout Christian, Garcia is aware of the importance of trees in Christianity. At the center of the Garden of Eden stood both the Tree of Knowledge, which bore the forbidden fruit that tempted Adam and Eve, and the Tree of Life, described in the book of Revelation as bearing 12 crops of fruit and having leaves for the healing of nations. 

Garcia has never shied away from injecting spirituality into his work. His first solo exhibition, So Near, Yet So Far (2008), featured paintings that referenced Biblical passages and carried titles like Crucifixion and The Whole Armor of God.

I Clung to the Tree for Dear Life affirms that Garcia is as steadfast in his faith as ever, despite tragedy. Like van Gogh, whom he considers the paragon of enlightenment, Garcia sees the divine in nature. Where van Gogh painted sunflowers and star-spangled skies,

Garcia paints the rocks and rivers of the verdant earth in this exhibitions centerpiece. Using a bristle brush attached to a piece of wood, Garcia creates a landscape populated by human beings in different stages of spiritual life. His palette is noticeably lighter, a choice meant to communicate that he has dived into the dark ocean and emerged a changed man.

Swift, expressionistic strokes churn on the canvas and recall the layered aesthetic of Georg Baselitz. Garcia fits all the sentiments of his sketches into this one painting of a lush and dreamy island. In his letters, van Gogh wrote that he painted to say something comforting. Likewise, Garcia wishes to express hope by some star, the eagerness of a soul by a sunset radiance.ll


"Devotion"
"Father and Daughter"
"Raquel"
"Mother's Sunflower"
"Self Portrait (Sitting)"
"He Adored His Mother"
"Rochelle"
"Watchful Eyes"
"Lady In Blue"
"She's Still In Mourning"
"Mother in Dark Background"
"My Mother"
"Black and Blue"
"Outside My Window"
"Kiss"
"Fire Infront of My Face"
"Like A Drowned Rat"
"Striped Naked"
"Having Nothing On"
"Sorrow"
"Nowhere To Lay My Head"
"Nowhere To Lay My Head 2"
"I Thought I Could Atleast Escape By Sleeping"
"Walk With a Knife"
"Wild Sea"
"Preacher"
"Fortress"
"Vanish Into Thin Air"
"Lover"
"Self-Portrait"
"Kuya Ayan"
"Father and Daughter"
"Whispers In My Ears"
"Acrophobia"
"Inverted"
"Dr. Paul Gathet"
"Postman Joseph Roulin"
"Noisy Disturbance"
"Head of an Imbecile"
"The Burning Heart"
"Adoration"
"Van Gogh's Deathbed by Dr. Gatchet"
"Immortal"
"Death Certificate"
"The Comforter"
"Like a Dream"
"As Old as The Hills"
"Awful Night"

DOCUMENTATION