Mark Andy Garcia is at his most relaxed and peaceful phase of his life, as he captures his favorite hangouts and close companions on canvas in Somewhere to Lay My Head, his sixth one-man exhibit at West Gallery. Such relaxed attitude can be seen in the way he uses more colors and adds light-hearted texts to complement his images.
The inspiration began with the concept of fire trees coming alive and lighting up what used to be dark spots in Garcia’s life. It is symbolic of Garcia’s resilience to overcome personal challenges and to rise above circumstances that were beyond his control. Garcia himself feels alive after beginning to accept and understand that they are part of life through which he can come out wiser and stronger. The fire trees seem to serve as the period of awakening, of seeing clarity after the storm. That is why Garcia did not just make one but two large paintings in which fire trees appear to shine brightly, one in which he seems to be reflecting in solitude, and the other where he is surrounded by the people closest to him.
He paints according to his own perspective and in the context of his personal experiences. In “God’s Will Home,” he paints the community surrounding his home and studio, as free-wheeling as a young child would paint his home. Then there’s “Lighthouse Bible Baptist Church, Tatalon,” in which he concentrates on the happy atmosphere it radiates amid humble backgrounds. Garcia adds that he often does not plan what to paint, but, in lieu of a camera, he uses his paintbrushes and canvases to refresh his memory with such visual keepsakes, just like he did with “Walk at the Shore,” “Morning at Malolos, Bulacan,” and “Starry Night at Shaw Blvd.,” immortalizing such moments through layers and layers of paint. He paints his subjects as he remembers them and how he would like to remember them, and goes with the joyful flow, as he does in a piece titled, “La-lala-lala-lala-lala.” “I try not to fight it. It is me,” intimates Garcia.