The opening for Carly Ivan Garcia and Benito Rangel de Maria: Reconstructed Abstractions of the Urban Experience at Zener Schon Contemporary Art in Mill Valley, California is firing. It’s hard to get a good look at the work during the show because of the sheer volume of art connoisseurs attending the exhibition. Carly Ivan Garcia is on hand, making his energetic presence known to contemporary artists, collectors, friends, and those not yet familiar with his prowess as a neo-abstract expressionist painter. We connected after the show and talked about his work, where he’s at right now, and what’s coming up for him in the future.
AF: There were a lot of people at the opening of Reconstructed Abstractions of the Urban Experience. How did it feel being at the center of it, exhibiting your work?
CIG: I feel like I’m in my element when I talk about my art and share it with viewers. It felt great to see so many people and to be acknowledged for what I’ve created.
AF: How would you describe your art, particularly the body of work you have up right now at Zener Schon Contemporary Art?
CIG: The body of work in this show represents a wide range of styles and different techniques that I have matured over the years. I wanted to have a little bit of everything I do, from collage mixed media to large scale drawings and oil based paintings with themes very calculated and thought out. The paintings in this show are colorful, playful, lively, socially conscious abstract expressions that speak for themselves in a high-voltage visually kinetic dialect.
AF: What moves you to paint?
CIG: Life moves me to paint. Growing moves me to paint and mastering my craft and finding out what the end result of my expression is. Finding out how it will look, how people will respond to it – the never ending process.
AF: Some of your paintings present imagery that touches on social issues. For example, binary code symbolism seems to be a motif in some of your recent depictions. Tell us a little bit about this aspect of your work.
CIG: A few of my paintings in this show do touch on current issues and problems faced in society. The binary symbolism I use shows how we’re all connected in the digital world. It also brings up the fact that we’re always being watched and recorded and coded. I like to put social commentary into my work to spark thought on social issues that might lead to solutions.
AF: It seems like you’ve been steadily increasing the scale of your paintings throughout the years. What does a larger scale allow for or enable you to do with your expressions that a smaller scale did not?
CIG: I’ve been increasing my scale of work over the years because I believe my style of abstract expressionism is always going to be stronger on a bigger canvas. Half of the time when I’m painting on a bigger canvas I feel physically challenged by the scale, like I’m going to die. (Laughter) The other half of the time is spent in pure joy. It’s my freestyle. It’s my art. Painting big while I still can may be dramatic but regardless of size I feel compelled to create as much art as I can.
AF: How much does the subconscious come into play when you’re creating art?
CIG: It comes into play quite a bit. All my work is created from a trancelike state. It’s the part of my brain that I am engaging to create from that is all visual. I paint from a nonlinear place and that allows me to go deep into the subconscious to pull out the work that wants to be seen.
AF: I’ve heard you say your art has personal element to it. What do you mean by that?
CIG: I began painting with no end result in mind as to where it would lead me. My art is playful and speaks to who I am as a person. My intent was to simply create. It’s my binary code. It’s my passion and it‘s what keeps me going.
AF: What’s the first thing that pops in your mind when you hear the word “abstract?”
CIG: The first thing that pops into my mind is a painter who is bold. Abstraction asks for the rules to be bent which lets the artist see all angles all at once. The originality to work this way and just do it regardless of logic or reason is part of the abstraction too.
AF: What’s next for you as an artist?
CIG: To continue to enjoy the process of painting. Wherever that takes me is where I’ll be going. To be humble and happy and keep creating work. I will participate in some group shows and maybe some art fairs. I find the longer I’ve been in this work the more I come back to simplifying my life as an artist and living creatively.
Interview by Jake Simon