Nona Garcia's work draws from the wellspring of childhood memory. Born into a family of doctors, she has always derived a great sense of familiarity with the environs of the hospital, the workplace of family members where she grew up. In her present work, the hospital is recollected and remembered with great sentimentality. This is very different from the societal prescribed character of the hospital as a clinical, cold, sanitised and hence foreboding place. Instead, the various facades of the hospital - from its corridors and hallways to patients' rooms - are fond places that lead her to recollect nostalgic days of playing and waiting for her doctor-parents.
The present lot, Parting of parallel grounds, is derived from her Ambient Still series - a series of paintings completed from photographs taken by the artist after the original hospital building of her childhood has been abandoned after an earthquake had occurred, making the hospital no more serviceable. The post-disaster desolation is exactly what Garcia attempts to render. Parting of parallel grounds shows an empty room. No more hospital bed, no more sick coughs and ill looks, no more nurses shuffling about and doctors flustered at the conditions of patients. All of these are now cast into the dark vistas of memory.
Garcia's painting lay aside these memories but deal with some other. The light is of a sickly colour, almost sepia but not quite so, almost committed to memory but not quite. The empty rooms exude certain broodiness, a certain emptiness that comes over with age and time. Hung photos within frames still hung on the wall invoke a simultaneous sense of presence and absence.