Chest to Heart









Honoring Transience:

Chest to Heart by Mark Andy Garcia


How does one reckon with the loss of life, especially of someone familiar, someone dear? The master poet John Donne writes: “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and never send to know for whom the bells toll; it tolls for thee.”

For Mark Andy Garcia, the artist finds solace and consolation in the natural world that has become his main subject matter, eloquently and tenderly conveyed by this exhibition, Chest to Heart. This time, nature is no longer the permanent shelter to which we consign our mortal existence. Just like us, the trees, the flowers, and the rest of creation are subject to time’s ministering hands. Through shifts of weathers, seasons, and cycles, we grow, blossom, and prosper, but also wither and give way to new expressions of life.

In revealing landscapes pulsing with deliberate and tentative strokes, in fields and forests whitened by the blur of rain, Garcia acknowledges the transience of existence, oftentimes nourished and cultivated by things that seem to threaten it. But this acknowledgement comes with a profound belief in the marks we make in our brief flourishing. For instance, Garcia’s sunflowers—an allusion to Van Gogh’s that have become a personal symbol for the artist—are endowed with a vibrant red in the heart of each blossom, a sign of vitality and profound depth of living surrounded by a crown of raging, yellow petals.

While one may imagine that the landscape is a personal interpretation of the artist of the genre, works such as “Anticipation,” “Land of Promises,” and “On Higher Ground,” point to something symbolic and Biblical: possibly the paradise promised by Christ, or simply a better place that awaits us after death. These landscapes foretell of something that is much more enduring, grandiose, and compassionate than the world we inhabit.

As a tribute to a fellow comrade of the brush gone too soon, Chest to Heart reveals a tone of melancholy and grief, firmed up by a belief that the other side of life, whatever it may be, is infinitely better and welcoming, where worldly cares and sorrows fall like an old garment from a renewed body. As a take on mortality, the exhibition is at once a lamentation and a celebration of the life that we hold brief as a candle flame but still manages to a flash spark of illumination in the deep forest where we are all just temporary voyagers.

-Carlomar Arcangel Daoana




"Anticipation", oil on canvas, 72 x 96 inches - 2019



"Existence", oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches - 2019



"Land of Promises", oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches - 2019



"Land of Promises", oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches - 2019



"Higher Ground", oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches - 2019



"Rainy Day 1", oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches - 2019



"Rainy Day 2", oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches - 2019



"Rainy Day 3", oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches - 2019



"Rainy Day 4", oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches - 2019



"Sunflowers 1", oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches - 2019



"Sunflowers 2", oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches - 2019



"Sunflowers from the Heart 1", 48 x 36 inches - 2019



"Sunflowers from the Heart 2", oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches - 2019



DOCUMENTATION