Published October 10, 2023
Filipino contemporary artist Mitch Garcia has been thinking about death. A lot. How would she want to go out? Perhaps inside a life-sized matchbox, clutching “Fugly”, her little monster stuffed toy while yelling “pakyu” as pages from her art zines explode like confetti. The ideal final curtain call for the multi disciplinary artist. Booze, of course, shall be served at the reception. But before she cashes in her chips, Garcia has yet to tie several loose ends. She and her dark passenger (i.e. herself) have some unfinished business, and the reckoning begins yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Garcia’s work challenges the hegemony of paint-on-canvas, and questions the very nature of what a painting can be. With her miniature books delicately crafted from matchboxes, intricate mini zines, TakAtak boxes, and collages, Garcia’s DIY process of painting is the sculpture itself, where her compositions become the very site of self-expression. These creations reveal memories, cultural tenets, memes, and figures. And while they are fashioned to be visually palatable, her concept blatantly rejects the grandiose expressive and representative tendencies of painting as we know it, taking a refreshing absurdist perspective to her practice. As seen in her shows, Garcia experiments with ideas of randomness and the recombination of everyday objects and events into artistic articulations. This approach abandons exhausting legacies of art history and the academy in favor of bold, dynamic ideas and an effervescent disregard for the rules.
Just as cinema montage and music has grasped, the orchestration of symbols, visions, and other sensorial components in Garcia’s opus assimilates novel scenarios. The interactivity and tangibility of her pieces elicit a state of continuous reshuffling, multiplying interpretation, and cognitively activating the audience while handling, imagining, and communicating. Accordingly, the connection with the ordinary flow of life allows new dimensions in the world: stratified, recombinant, and engaging. Through the years, Garcia’s practice stayed faithful to self expression—where the collection of objects, cards, materials, and cutouts, as well as her part performances remain as captivating assemblage of memories, substantial and necessary to the poetry of her art.
A self-professed observer of people and life, Garcia is a walking work of art herself. While she doesn’t necessarily strive to find the meaning of life and the existential nuances that come with it, she remains a self-contained artist, tailoring experiences to her taste while staying open, accessible, and collaborative. Garcia continues to set aside learned rules of aesthetic decorum but nonetheless welcomes the possibility of returning to the road that led her here in the first place. But first things first, a playlist for the dead, a checklist of art to be displayed, and a budget sheet for booze to celebrate life and death.
Mitch Garcia is a Filipino multidisciplinary artist who graduated from Philippine Women’s University with a degree in Fine Arts. Her work focuses on graphic design, performance art, painting, video, and installation and print. She has participated in numerous exhibitions both locally and across the globe. In 2008, she founded INC –Innovative Noise Collective and was the Co founder Artist Coordinator for the 1st Manila Biennale Open City in 2018. She was part of the 2003 NIPAF Asian Performance Art Series Japan, 2004 LELIEU Internationale D’ Art Performance Art Montreal & Quebec Canada, 2005 MIPAF 1st Macau International Performance Art Festival, 2006 Segundo Encuentro Arte Corporal Caracas Venezuela among others. In 2015 Garcia performed in P-NOISE Copenhagen, Denmark. She also did performances for local independent films such as Melancholia (a 9-hour film by Lav Diaz) and Khavn Dela Cruz’s Kumander Kulas in late 2000s, worked as Art Director for Mondo Manila 2 (Alipato) while simultaneously mounting several exhibitions. Garcia’s video works were shown in the ‘End Frame Video Art Projects” as well as in several other countries from 2006-2009–Such as PERFORMATIVITY Singapore, NIVAF Video Art Project Japan, and IMAGINE spoils of love 9-installations Greenbelt 5. She is one of the founding members of TAMA –Tupada Action and Media Art in 2001. She also participated in ASEUM (Asia Europe New Media Art Symposium) 09, and Fete Dela WSK. She is currently a full time artist and runs her Manila-based design team called MG Freelance Creatives.