Denver’s Anthony Garcia Sr. makes the huge leap from street art to fine art look easy

Artist Anthony Garcia Sr., shown here in March 2022, has a show at the Arvada Center. (Ray Mark Rinaldi, Special to The Denver Post)

Artist Anthony Garcia Sr., shown here in March 2022, has a show at the Arvada Center. (Ray Mark Rinaldi, Special to The Denver Post)

Anthony Garcia Sr. is one of the most influential — and, arguably, most important — artists working in Denver today. His best-known pieces — large-scale public murals, which riff on the sharp colors and horizontal stripes of serape textiles — are visible on buildings and bridges across the city and carry with them a rich, dual meaning.

Not only do they reflect the artist’s own mix of Mexican and American roots, they also mirror Denver at this very moment in time as the city itself transitions fully into a blend of genealogies from up and down the hemisphere. They are both loud expressions of personal identity and optimistic billboards announcing that the multicultural metropolis has arrived.

Denver, one of the birthplaces of the Chicano movement, has a decades-long history of public murals proclaiming its diversity, and Garcia’s work builds on that and, in some ways, brings it to maturity, at least from a 21st century, contemporary-art perspective where abstraction rules the day.

We tend to think of public murals as figurative works, drawing their lineage from Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros, whose massive offerings were distinguished by representational images of humans and the human struggle. Garcia is clearly influenced by those painters, especially when it comes to scale and social commentary.

But his work also reflects the experiences of any thirty-something artist who toils in the wake of game-changing modernists, like Mark Rothko, Morris Louis, Gunther Gerso or Carlos Mérida (whose painting was the highlight of the Denver Art Museum’s recent “Mexican Modernism” show). It is easy to see the impact of geometric abstraction and the Color Field movement on his work.

Anthony Garcia Sr.’s “Pigment,” from 2021. (Ray Mark Rinaldi, …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

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