By Jim Sisley, Image Source
Joan Garcia paints figures. People, dogs, cats, birds, adults, children and, almost always, she has, or did have, a personal relationship with them. The figures are abstracted with a Matisse level of likeability which is, in part, attributable to their similar loose draftsmanship. Joan’s paintings and drawings are originalwithout qualification.
“I’m self-taught and my paintings don’t have a lot of depth in terms of perspective and painting realistically. I paint a more flattened image because I am drawn to folk art and things that are less academicallytraditional. My style is very shapely but flattened and It always comes out as a children’s book illustration. I have tried painting very realistically but it’s frustrating and when I paint in ‘my style’ it’s very joyful.”
She admits that the originality of her imagery is quite often because her process begins by “applying lots of paint,” a kind of multi-colored soup. She then lightly pushes it around by hand, credit cards and other tools to create a base on which to build. Joan looks at the soup and finds unintentional imagery. She says it surprises her when “sometimes, a painting is already in there.” Like finding the likeness of your favorite childhood puppy in the chaos of clouds while lying on the beach, one must be free of the daily burden to “see” in this way. She is comfortable in conversation with the materials
Joan Garcia has a rare interpretive ability that allows her to recognize her next painted image(s) before the soup dries. “I prefer to find the image in the paint; Its more enjoyable and always a surprise. She considers herself to be an abstract painter.
The naturally apparent shapes in the soup are not the shapes that she would have thoughtto draw or paint. They are, instead, within a range of similarity that allows her to recognize “it” yet altered enough to be visually interesting. It’s not contrived and not completely accidental either. Mrs. Garcia gently coaches the wet paint toward an emotionally complex image. Her paintings have a sophisticated simplicity that is stripped down to eliminate artifice and include only those elements necessary to communicate the emotional message. “When I put too much on the canvas, I find that the piece is overly busy and I repaint to simplify.” She paints without music or sensual competition because she wants to focus on her communication with the materials and the painted surface.
Her influences include Eric Carle and she enjoys his collaged tissue papers. She uses tissue to create texture in her work. After her first visit to the Carle Museum, she came home and “painted a million pieces of tissue paper” to use as substrate for her paintings. The colorful papers make her under-paintings come alive with texture and a vibrance that excites and multiplies her creativity. It’s like a feedback loop that contributes to the visual harmony of her art. It is a convenient fact that Joan’s creations are best seen in person because you can see Joan Garcia’s work as the featured artist during the Chill Pop exhibition on display Sept. 6-27 at Tryst Gallery in Leesburg.
Jim Sisley is the owner of the Tryst Gallery, located at 312 E. Market St. Suite F in downtown Leesburg. The gallery is open Thursday through Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and First Friday 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. each month.