Glitter is probably one of the most difficult art mediums to work with.  Microscopically, it is no more than reflective bits of plastic that trade light and color in a multitude of ways depending how the work is being displayed.  The location of a work in a room is also important, as an entire glitter “painting” can change dramatically depending upon the viewer’s perspective.  Artist Rene Garcia Jr. has spent a great deal of time tackling this tricky medium, and has not only walked away unscathed, but has built an art career out of the reflective material.

Gallery Director Brooke Waterhouse of Project One in San Francisco has had a longstanding relationship with the talented artist, and there is no doubt that Garcia’s work is literally part of the fabric of the Design District establishment.

His latest body of work entitled “Badass” further explores subjects from Garcia’s subconscious mind, and highlights “Americana Symbolism” in which cultural mash-ups are given their due in glitter.   Whether it be a lion faced nod to Michael Jackson’s iconic ‘Thriller’ album, or a pinup girl in direct confrontation with giant cobra, Garcia’s work questions what truly makes up the American identity.  Women, cars, and all other types of awesomeness continue to give life to the artist’s work, and present the viewer with a deeper understanding of Garcia himself.

Garcia’s believes that art is accessible to everyone, and uses basic materials in the construction of his fine art to prove his point.  Elmers glue, glitter, and determination are his mantra, as the artist often tackles absolutely massive canvases on which his nostalgia for the 70’s emerges.  When finished, the scale of many of the works is no less than impressive.

That being said, working in glitter is not the easiest material to control.  Garcia has learned to “paint” only through years of trial and error, and his skill level with the medium continues to expand.  In “Badass” Garcia expands the boundaries of the medium, and patrons will find that his current works tackle depth and refined color shading.  When working with glitter, controlling color and form can be an issue.  This is not paint, and when mixed colors tend to turn into a murky mess of sparkles.  Additionally, handling and layering of the material can present other problems, as the glitter cannot simply be painted over without building mass.  In the contemporary setting, Garcia is king of this unforgiving medium and there is no question that his technical expertise is evolving the genre.  His work is not only clean, it’s beautifully elegant.

“Badass” presents us with a barrage of fond memories, with a dash of surrealism, topped off with the sparkle and shine of an American dream.  The show runs from November 14th, 2012 to February 2nd, 2013 at Project One Gallery… be sure to check it out.

– review and photos by Michael Cuffe for Warholian

For more on the show visit Project One here:

For more on Rene Garcia visit his official site here: