Welcome to the Everglades: HAROLD GARCIA V
Thomas Nickles Project is pleased to present a solo exhibition of investigative work by Cuban-born artist Harold García V that focuses on the conditions, both past and present, that pose a threat to the Everglades’ fragile ecosystem and their underlying causes. Featuring a video and eleven watercolors, the exhibition examines the deeply rooted attitudes and ensuing actions that impact the Everglades today and traces their origin to the late 19th century.
García’s watercolors are anachronistic, fictional portraits and landscapes that link Victorian-era fashion plates together with imagery from contemporary digital photographs. In his La Mode Pratique (Practical Fashion) series Victorian figures sport fashionable attire, which upon closer inspection proves to be partially ornamented with scenes depicting the plight of the Everglades: burning sugar cane fields, algae-covered coastlines, satellite views of luxury housing developments and displaced wildlife. The video work On the Altars of Vanity fully captures the extravagance of ladies’ hats of the period and connects plume hunting with the present-day practice of beautifying luxury housing developments with artificial lakes filled with water diverted from wetlands.
In the main gallery, a large mural depicting an aerial view of urbanized portions of the Everglades and those in their natural, pristine condition covers the majority of one wall. Rendered in watery green, blue and ochre acrylic it creates an immersive environment and connection with the wetland ecology. Throughout the exhibition several of the watercolors are paired with different present-day physical objects—a bag of sugar, a printed digital photo and a group of alligator foot back scratchers—revealing the complex network of relationships between the historic and current. Here García is considering the role of integrity, a subject he frequently examines in his work, and the part it has played in the multitude of challenges the Everglades has faced for over a century. Throughout his career he has presented issues that have come to his attention through personal experience and research, urging viewers to take a closer look into the subject matter to gain awareness.
García was born in Havana, Cuba in 1985. The artist emigrated from Havana to Miami with his family in 2005, but it wasn’t until 2016 when a chance encounter with a great white heron that appeared to be looking for its next meal on the sidewalk outside his home sparked his curiosity about the appearance of this type of wading bird in an urban environment. The artist explains, “I started my research from my interest in understanding the reasons that provoked these behaviors in these species and I ended up digging into a myriad of unfavorable events that are directly connected to the Everglades.”
His work has been featured in solo, bipersonal and group exhibitions in Cuba, Austria, Italy and most recently at the Dotfiftyone Gallery in Miami alongside the work of his colleague and wife Grethell Rasúa.
The work in this exhibition was the topic of an upcoming virtual conference with the United Nations as part of their Documentation & Division Lecture Series. The show will be García’s third solo exhibition and his first with Thomas Nickles Project. He studied at the National Academy of Fine Arts San Alejandro in Havana, Cuba and now lives in Brooklyn, New York.