BASIC PAINTING. Sept 19 - Oct 10, 2020 -- Art Cube Gallery

*Video and photography by Rogelio Castillio II

Returning to One’s Roots

Exhibition notes by Carlomar Arcangel Daoana

When an artist paints, what it is exactly he is making? What is he transmitting to the audience? What gets communicated? What kind of solace that we—as audience—can find in a work of art? These are the simple and yet important and urgent questions that Mark Andy Garcia attempts to answer in his solo exhibition, Basic Painting.

In the painting that shares the title of the exhibition, the artist is shown in front of his canvas holding a brush, slightly tilted towards the viewer, ready to commence work. The canvas is not completely empty. It bears his shadow, an imprint of his body made possible by an overhead light. The scenario in the work, “Ahead of Time 2,” is similar, as the artist, with his hand to his waist, also casts a shadow onto the canvas.

These two works are reminiscent of Plato’s “Allegory of a Cave,” in that they argue that what is visible is simply a translation—a shadow—of the world of ideas. When the viewer looks at the work of an artist, what the viewer sees is not the extension of the artist per se, or a part of himself, but the mediated forms that approximate the artist’s ideas. Canvas and brush can’t fully capture what is in the artist’s head. The viewer can only have a glimpse of its shadow.

“Basic Painting” is Garcia’s meditation on to what extent the artist reveals himself in the works that he creates. While a painting can’t fully capture the artist’s ideas, it can reveal how the artist views objects in space and how these objects are symbolic of what the artist holds dear: belief, creativity, worship, the revelation of knowledge through time.

In his works throughout his many exhibitions, Garcia has sustained a unity of expression as he kept true to what for him are essential, life-long concerns. The consistency of his vision paints a continuing quest of how to grow as a man of faith in a distracted world. In his paintings, he restores man as a solitary figure meandering in the woods, reading a book intently, or heeding the call of an empty canvas. For the artist, these are not merely activities but attitudes of the mind. 

Basic Painting makes plain and accessible the joys that come from allowing an attentiveness to take root and blossom. A blue night, a blur of trees, a stand of trees, a vase of flowers: their gift is immense and worthy of adoration. We are not bereft of beauty. As paintings, they are moments of revelation of an inner inquiry. Garcia shows that the deepest praise is quiet and unadorned. The simple is the spiritual.

"Adoration", oil on canvas, 60x60 inches - 2020

"In Due Time", oil on canvas, 60x60 inches - 2020

"Basic Painting", oil on canvas, 60x60 inches - 2020

"Ahead of Time 1", oil on canvas, 60x60 inches - 2020

"Ahead of Time 2", oil on canvas, 60x60 inches - 2020

"Dreamer", oil on canvas, 60x60 inches - 2020

"Wisdom", oil on canvas, 60x60 inches - 2020