On Latex – Melanie Garcia

It starts with the body. 

Throughout my art practice I’ve focused on the human body – with its biological flaws, its perfections, and its representations – with concern for body image, perpetuated image, mediated image, distortion, and aesthetics. 

My mixed media collages use found images from magazines to construct open-ended narratives. Controlled and gestural use of inks, paint, and pens visualizes the dichotomy of interior expression, and helps to create tensions between the elements. 

On Latex is a small, ongoing, exploratory series of mixed media collages on sheet latex examining the material and its texture in relationship to skin, sex, and the body.  

Derived from the sap of the rubber tree, latex is a milky and sticky substance that is collected, refined, and transformed into a stretchy, resistant material. The material then becomes various objects, among them latex gloves and condoms, designed for protective use. Such protection recalls how the sap works as the tree’s defence mechanism, not only as a poison but also if the tree is injured the sap is released as a barrier that traps insects in its sticky surface. 

Latex can also become sheeting, which is then manufactured into clothing, second-skin garments that enhance and fetishize the body. Sheeting is what inspired this series, as a material on which it is difficult to control the outcome of running inks and diluted paints. The material acts as a lesson in giving up control or a desire for the idea of perfection. 

Melanie Garcia loves paper, collage and mixed media. It was during her BFA in Film Production at Concordia University that she began her work in large-format digital collage. After a period of art gestation her work is now settled into primarily analog mixed media collage concerned with the human body, its biological flaws, perfection, representation, distortion and aesthetics. The once pictorial digital collages have now been distilled to minimal abstract and surreal collages. Disembodied limbs, flesh, and anonymous bodies, attempt to connect to natural landscapes, personal histories, mythologies and elements. When not pushing around little pieces of paper Melanie freelances in costume/wardrobe styling and art education in and around Montreal, Canada. melaniegarcia.ca