Published October 05, 2020
If you were born to family of doctors and among hospital instruments, you'd probably be interested in x-rays too. But what would you do with thim?
All of Nona Garcia's artworks have always involved the use of photographs, sometimes X-rays. And though it's convenient to call her a photorealist, using photos as the basis of her artworks has never been as simple and straightforward as just copying them.
Garcia considers herself a painter with a conceptual approach, one that carefully chooses the images, the paintings' ground (canvas or painting isn't always the most obvious option, hence her lightboxes), and the details and composition of the results. At times, even the relationship of the images to the exhibition space is carefully considered. However in a 2012 exhibition called "Before the Sea," she reveals that the act of painting is her primary focus. On trasposing a panoramic view of the sea into a single 6 by 20 foot painting for a small gallery, she said, "Given a particular space I choose to consciously fill it with that process, of painting a particular picture, may it be sky, sea, or any other view, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that this stretch of wall has been tainted not by a particular subject, but has been embedded with an act of transference. The final work could just as well be the whole room and how it has transformed.”
Her paintings vary a great deal with an oeuvre that isn't limited to desolate landscapes, portraits of people with their backs turned, and X-rays lightboxes. But for those that love her work, her painting process has been consistently understood as a piercing examination of the image, one where ordinary reality borders on the infinite or the "hidden life" of predictable, even discarded, things can be revealed.
Nona Garcia is a Filipino contemporary artist that has had numerous solo shows and participated in exhibitions across Asia and Europe.