Like maps of our lonely planet, all flat projections betray life’s dimensional complexity. During this decade of deep-fakes and media skepticism, seeing is not believing. Instead, for today’s cynics and what-aboutists, it’s typically the opposite: representation alone inspires doubt about whatever’s represented.
Though technically impressive, online ultra-realist fads—from sketches to cake-making—are ingratiated with the spectacle of this media dubiety. These dimensions of the modern media voyeur in mind, Antonio Gonzalez-Garcia invites us around tables with strangers.
It’s no mistake that the mild, wide-angle lens distortions of Antonio’s composition transports smartphone users back to their phone screen. But instead of stealing us away, like a phantom limb, the mind conjures a perspective from our smartphone’s prosthetic eye, and welcomes us into all too familiar game night and holiday scenes. Again, we share another candid moment with more strangers through another image posted on another “wall” (but a real one this time). If we’re honest with ourselves, the only game nights and holidays we’re more familiar with than our intimate own, are everybody else’s.
Still, nothing makes any of us feel so alien as the cold, vague power dynamics of an unknown table. Yet in a watercolor thaw, the cool, rarified air of a shared table, and its many dimensions, condenses and pools below Antonio’s brush. Neat ponds of color charge gently against sometimes fraying, but never unraveling blush of human expression—frailty, joy and conviviality alike.
In his plein air and studio paintings, the fresh, unrefined qualities of Earthy watercolors take on their familiar expressions of foliage and flowers. But around these tables, we don’t find untamed woodland bogs or brushy overgrowth. Instead, Antonio forms the ground of our social being like a seasoned golf course architect. Bold, bauhaus-esque blocking and technically pristine washes of color depict the plain, saturated interaction of contemporary subjectivities in emotive exchange. Through hard and soft topographical lines, the gaze meanders faces along the rolling unknown, exhuming the blurry ghosts beneath our own private country clubs.
In his self-portrait, built-up layers of our meta-perception are cross-sectioned. Using plein air body measurement techniques in the close proximity of the studio setting, the room distorts roundly about the body. As a result of this method, the augmentation forced by weight of the painter’s own subjectivity renders the painting on one foot, leaning but not off-balance. Still, the subject sits as an off-center center, nonplussed and underwhelmed by his own reflection, the mirror too sits, an unstirred pond in a modern wild, washed and angular.
In the past 100 years, we’ve determined that the universe may not be so fixed and static as we’ve imagined. Instead, bodies sit on a fabric of space-time that bends around them. Antonio reminds us, calmly and without fear, that our own seeking minds and scrying eyes are no different than the rest of matter. Instead, wherever our perspective rests, it’s still heavy enough to bend, sometimes ever so slightly, with and around the very world it seeks to know.
Working with Dustin is a metaphysical pleasure. He builds complex, poetic discourse that is at the same time easy to share with the general public. His curatorial statement, understanding of the space, and visual work made the installation at E1507 an absolute living-with-art experience.
Antonio González-García | Watercolorist