Images have power and an ability to etch themselves immediately onto our consciousness that give them their iconic weight. McDonald’s golden arches, Shell gasoline’s recognizable yellow and red signage hanging high in the air, Apple’s subtle and modest white icon. The way the brain processes images also contributes to their power: we can see, remember, and be moved by an image that we have not really thought about. It can enter into our consciousness below our analytical radar – or be moving too quickly – and continue to influence us from our subconsciousness. Such is the focus and theme of Ricardo Garcia’s newest body of work, entitled “Allegory.”

With each of his paint-heavy and large-scale pieces, Garcia defines his own dimension of space. His solo exhibit at Prohibition Gallery in Culver City, introduces seven pieces – mostly composed of paint, canvas, markers, pencil, and spray paint – that demonstrate the work of a man investigating how to order – or disorder -the world around him. While each piece recalls iconic branding imagery, like Ronald McDonald, the Morton salt girl, and the Burger King, the viewer is confronted with how we accept, process, and understand the ever-present propaganda that not only inhabits, but saturates our daily life.

“‘Allegory’ poses as a way for me to visually portray iconic images – stuff that we may or may not pay attention to anymore, but are still constantly surrounded by – in a new and thought-provoking way,” says Garcia. “I’m trying to revisit these supposed iconic images that we’ve sort of become immune to or that have become installed into our subconscious, through a new lens.”

Having been born and raised in Los Angeles, Garcia’s subconscious has become flooded by the neon and bright propaganda imagery that graces the infinite amount of billboards and businesses throughout the city. With the pieces that comprise “Allegory,” Garcia reacquaints himself with these images, adding his own contemporary embellishments to each icon, and subverting them into the likeness of his own personal story and relationship with each one. Each piece depicts how these images inhabit Garcia’s experiences and daily life in Los Angeles.

“We are paying attention to what we don’t think we are paying attention to,” says Garica. “Subconsciously everyone has seen the Morton’s salt girl, or at least they know they’ve seen it somewhere, but how does the significance of that simple image change when they see her with an Apple laptop in hand? I’m curious to see what the viewer gets from the pieces.”

Garcia has found much importance in using existing imagery to his own advantage. In fact, through the process of getting ready for this solo exhibit he’s come to understand how essential it is to explore alternative perceptions of a popular image.

“It’s so important that I’ve started to use the existing imagery or branding around us, to my advantage,” says Garcia. “I think it’s interesting how sometimes there is certain imagery, for example Shell gas, that we see as so welcoming, and as such a integral part of our lives, but at the same time, when put in front of us on a canvas in a completely different context, begin to realize just how damaging that image – and what it stands for – is to our lives. I’m trying to portray more of the truth.”

Don’t miss the opening of Ricardo Garcia’s solo exhibit at Prohibition Gallery tonight from 6-9pm in conjunction with Culver City’s infamously lavish art walk.

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