Arts / Galleries

Houston Artist Takes Venice — Inside Justin Garcia’s Time Traveling Biennale Adventure

From Sawyer Yards to Hallowed Art Ground

BY // 10.01.19

Collectors who flocked to the Venice Biennale this summer encountered a Houston artist Justin Garcia in a pendant exhibition organized by the European Cultural Centre.

“Personal Structures: Identities ” — which stays on view into November  — features Garcia along with nearly 300-some talents from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Australia, Latin America, Africa, and North America. The tri-venue exhibition takes place at the historic Palazzo Bembo on the Grand Canal (the striking edifice where Garcia’s works are installed), and extends to the Palazzo Mora, as well as spilling onto the al fresco grounds of Giardini Marinaressa.

Garcia was tapped by the Cultural Centre’s team of 13 curators to mount four works from his ongoing “Walls of Time” series — dramatic sculptural paintings evoking Italian Renaissance frescoes or the fragments of ancient Roman mural paintings.

The painter is a staple of the Houston art world. His practice is headquartered amidst the Sawyer Yards complex at Silver Street Studios.

While Garcia is known primarily as an abstract painter, in recent years, he has created elaborate installations where drawings intersect with labyrinthine flow charts, which posit an idealized time machine.

Justin Garcia’s time-machine model, “Humanity’s Sustainable Infinite,” 2016, at the Beeville Museum, Texas. The artist’s fascination with time travel is reflecting in his ongoing painting series, “Walls of Time.” (Photo courtesy the artist)
Justin Garcia’s time-machine model, “Humanity’s Sustainable Infinite,” 2016, at the Beeville Museum, Texas. The artist’s fascination with time travel is reflected by his ongoing painting series, “Walls of Time,” shown during the Venice Biennale 2019 by the European Cultural Centre. (Photo courtesy the artist)

With his “Walls of Time,” the artist comes full circle, making his idea of time travel tangible. These latest paintings possess the imprint of ages past. And appropriately they occupy an environment perfumed with Venice’s fabled history.

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“I present the conceptual idea of how the perception of time is realized through the simplicity of aging walls,” Garcia tells PaperCity.

“The Venice Biennale is the Olympics of art, and I couldn’t be more honored.”

Garcia returns to Italy this fall to exhibit October 18 through October 27 in another celebrated city of the Renaissance — at the Florence Biennale.

Closer to home, the painter is fresh from showing (and getting sales) at the Seattle Art Fair, the sister fair to the Texas Contemporary.

Garcia’s next act —  a solo entitled “Marking Time” at the Glade Gallery, Glade Cultural Center in The Woodlands — opens Thursday, October 3, 6:30 pm, and remains on view through November 3. (Admission free, but opening night RSVP requested: dragos@gladegallery.com.)

Justin Garcia in “Personal Structures – Identities,” at Palazzo Bembo, through November 24; check out the exhibition here.

Scroll through the slideshow above this story to see Garcia’s top art encounter during the 58th edition of the Venice Biennale. Read more about the artist who created it, Sean Scully, here.

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