Merry Karnowsky Gallery is proud to present “The Hydra of Babylon,” the new body of work from acclaimed Los Angeles painter Camille Rose Garcia. Garcia’s latest paintings on wood and paper explore the converging ecological and human catastrophes and the healing power of nature.
Using animal symbolism borrowed from Greek mythology and inspired by intricate Islamic patterning, Garcia weaves elaborate painted tapestries that comment on resource depletion, ecological collapse and endless war, while reminding the viewer that beauty, hope and regeneration still exist.
Using a cacophony of colors, patterns, and animal symbols, the paintings and drawings comment on the failures of man, while celebrating the exuberance found in the natural world. Silver leaf and glitter are used to symbolically “sugar coat” subjects we are uncomfortable facing or talking about.
The largest painting in the show, “The Hydra of Babylon”, depicts a Greek hydra, a nine-headed serpent, struggles underwater with a giant white eagle. The eagle is depicted upside down, representing a “flipping” of its meaning as a symbol of freedom. Babylon, usually used symbolically to represent wealth, luxury, and wickedness, is used here also as a geographical reference. The original city of Babylon, with beautiful azure-blue gates and famous hanging gardens, sits in modern-day Iraq, now a war-torn desert.
The paintings are distractingly pleasant, yet, within the distraction lies danger. They are exaggerated, Disney versions of nature: more vivid, charming and entertaining than the real thing. Super-bright colors convey a simulated nature, enhanced to a dizzying degree.
Garcia was raised in the suburbs of Orange County, and she received a Masters of Fine Arts from The University of California, Davis. A mid-career survey of her work was shown at the San Jose Museum of Art in May 2007. Three books of her work have been published, The Saddest Place on Earth, 2005, The Magic Bottle, 2006, and Tragic Kingdom, 2007.
Garcia's work has been featured in Flaunt Magazine, Nylon, Paper Magazine, Modern Painters, Art Prostitute, Juxtapoz, Hi-Fructose, LA Weekly and The Los Angeles Times. Her art has been exhibited in Spain, Germany, France, and Italy, as well as numerous cities in the United States. The artist lives with her husband in Northern California.