Concurrently on view in the Thinkspace Project Room is Panacea, featuring new works by Venezuelan artist Benjamin Garcia. Fascinated by the psychological fracture of the individual and the competing impulses at work in any single identity, Garcia’s painterly style is emotive and gestural.
His works reveal the figurative subject in a state of transformation or becoming. These are discrete moments of revelation expressed in the shifting and itinerant quality of the artist’s paint application, dynamic psychological portraits mitigated by the gestural viscosity of the media. The coexistence of distress and beauty shape Garcia’s works with an undeniable pathos; the “Panacea” in this case appears to be the healing work of paint itself, and the emotive and universalizing outlet it provides in a time of factious disorder.
Inspired by great illustrators like Jean Giraud, aka. Moebius and Bill Sienkiewicz of Marvel Comics’ fame, the corpulent, fleshy contemporary figurative painting of Jenny Saville, the illustrations and graphic novels of Kent Williams, and the darkly works of preeminent portraitist Lucian Freud, Garcia’s inspiration comes from all visual domains, from both “high” and populist expressions of figuration.
Combining moments of chaos in his work with the tempered control of composition, Garcia slides in and out of affective extremes. At one side, governed by impulses of ecstatic joy and sensuality, and on the other, foiled by the spectrum’s opposing impulses of anxiety and violence. The coexistence of these oppositions, articulated in the representation of the body as a tangible vehicle for the psyche, feel both relatable and seductive, beautifully powerful and inexplicably unhinged.