Mark Andy Garcia

Landscapes, flowers in vases, figures immersed in water and surrounded by nature - there may seem nothing extraordinary about what Filipino artist Mark Andy Garcia chooses to paint. However, it is not difficult to see the deliberate echo of the spiritual, theological, and the evangelical in his quasi-autobiographical oil paintings.

For as long as there has been a separation between the secular and the spiritual, there has been a divide between work and faith. And for the Christian world, an integration of work/art and faith has been easily associated with the devotional art traditions that stretch as far back as Medieval Europe. For Garcia, however, the fusion of the work of art and faith finds its form in paintings accomplished with a naive expressiveness with their materials which act as a sincere acknowledgment of the Godhead in this mortal coil.

His paintings and exhibitions, for instance, can be understood as both autobiographical and theological. Titles like “Promised Land,” “Stand Still,” “New Beginnings,” “Human Nature,” “Blessings in Disguise,” and “Two-edged Sword” can be understood together as a rundown of the doctrines of the Christian faith as personal declarations and revelations. Garcia says that in many of his landscapes, there is a horizon, a demarcation dividing land and sky with trees as pathways to the Lord of Heaven and Earth. Garcia has accepted that all he does is rooted in the word of God. His paintings are reflections of this.

Labelled as intuitive, naive, gestural, and expressionist, the marks and textures on Garcia’s canvases leave evidence of the painter’s hand, presence, and persona. Painting for Garcia is a reflective practice, painfully honest at times. Without having to retell his experiences on his canvases, landscapes, sunflowers, and figures in interiors become representations of the inner self. Oil paint, his medium of choice, becomes a substance for inscribing his seasons, joys, crises, or moments of gratefulness, all the while acknowledging the relationship of the flesh to the eternal. It is in these ways that Garcia bridges the gap between faith and work in unexpected ways.

Mark Andy Garcia is an accomplished Filipino artist who has had several solo exhibitions of his paintings in top galleries, including Finale Art File, West Gallery, Pinto Museum, and the Bencab Museum. Among his many awards for art are the Grand Prize for 2007 Metrobank Art and Design Excellence, the National Art Competition, and the Juror’s Choice Award of Excellence, 2008 Philippine Art Awards National. He is also the recipient of the 2015 Thirteen Artists Award from the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Image sources: Mark Andy Garcia, West Gallery