SURFACE TREATMENT: ‘A portrait of patience’

Brownsville artist turns spiritual visions into ceramics works

The title of Sergio García’s new exhibit at Beyond Arts Gallery, “Sacando Mis Trapitos al Sol” is translated for the exhibition as “Airing Out My Dirty Laundry” and might have a negatively confessional sound to some.

But there is nothing negative about this show.

Its meaning is closer to a strengthening of beliefs and ideas through a visible focus. Bringing them into the sun, into the open air, brings them into the reality of our threedimensional world.

García has used artistic energies to correct his perceived spiritual shortcomings and to air his spiritual visions. He communicates his fascination with the spiritual world through ceramics, paintings, mixed media works, and installations, confirming its connection to the physical realm.

While there is a nod to the show’s title with an installation piece in the back gallery — underwear is hung on multiple clotheslines across the ceiling — it feels apart from the rest of the exhibit.

Originally from Brownsville, García has lived a large part of his life in Mexico City, which informs the sense of Mexican Surrealism we see in these works. Understanding life through symbolism is rooted in much of Mexican art and can be felt as a direct connection.

Referencing García’s spiritual view, his ceramic sculptures exude an attractive power and are rightly placed in the central location. They harbor recurring symbols that appear throughout the exhibit including trees, seeds, keys, and the ladder, which appears often in both the ceramic pieces and his wall pieces.

“A long time ago one of my spiritual professors told me that there are spiritual beings,” explained García. “Angels in the skies who come to help us grow spiritually as well as in our conscious mind. So, I imagined those beings had ladders. I do believe that these entities are among us and that they’re here to help us.”

A remarkable work, “The ladder man and his long wait,” shows the result of such an encounter. The man’s chest cavity is open, showing a key used to unlock the enlightenment brought by the spiritual being. It is also a portrait of patience.

Patience plays an important role in these works. When he began his spiritual path, Garcia noticed that patience was a virtue that he did not naturally possess, but since it was important to his development, he set about working on it.

“It’s very hard for me to be patient, in many aspects,” he said, “so I usually put it in my work as a reminder to myself, because I believe that it’s not just important for me, but for everyone.”

This young artist believes that everything we experience in life begins with a thought; images of large seeds suspended in his work visualize that concept. Because of the possibility that everything we think is eventually going to materialize, his tree images represent and become those realized thoughts. The silkscreen print, “RADA’SO’AM,” is an effectively visualized expression of this idea. Popping out of the man’s head, trees with leaves becoming butterflies are poised to deliver his idea to the world.

A very prolific artist, and with all the skills at his command, García admitted, “There’s something about ceramics that is very enjoyable for me. These ceramics have a little piece of my soul in them.”

Nancy Moyer, Professor Emerita of Art, is an art critic for The Monitor.

She may be reached at nmoyer@rgv.rr.com