Award-winning Vermont artist Wylie Garcia explores identity and emotional spaces through painting, drawing and textiles.
UPDATE: Please note this exhibition now opens November 20 from 12 – 1 p.m.
AUGUSTA – The sculptures and paintings of Wylie Garcia explore identity, gender, and emotional spaces through a visual language of curvilinear forms and bold colors that link her works across media. Garcia’s work has appeared in both solo and group exhibitions across the U.S. and she has held art residencies as far away as the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. She previously showed her work in a group exhibition in Maine in 2014, but Radical Softness is Garcia’s first solo exhibition in Maine. Garcia’s exhibition in UMA’s Danforth Gallery spans a decade of work, featuring her sculptural dresses of rich satins and gauze, subtle drawings in graphite and gouache, and recent monumental paintings resembling textiles and tapestries. This focused look at a decade of artistic practice demonstrates Garcia’s encompassing vision across media and her engagement with the personal as political.
The show gets its name from the quote by poet Lora Mathis, “Radical Softness as a Weapon.” Garcia purchased a shirt with the quote on it, and it has since become a part of her artmaking uniform. Mathis describes radical softness as “the idea that unapologetically sharing your emotions is…a way to combat the societal idea that feelings are a sign of weakness.” In relation to this exhibition and to her artmaking process, Garcia refers to the Mathis quote as “a reminder for me that I am strongest when I tap into my softness…when I give a voice to my vulnerability…[when I] connect to something beyond myself.” The nearly twenty works on view in the Danforth Gallery allow viewers to wander among what she calls “emotional landscapes […] of people and places and ideas that are dear to me and this moment in my life.”
Born and raised in Texas, Garcia now lives in Burlington, Vermont. She earned her BA at the University of Chicago and her MFA at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and in 2016 she won the yearly Barbara Smail Fellowship and Award from the Burlington City Arts. The same year, she won a Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council. She was recently awarded a prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant.
Radical Softness is on display from November 13th to December 19th, and the public is welcome to visit the gallery in Jewett Hall, which is generally open on Mondays through Thursdays from 9:00am to 5:00pm and on Fridays from 9:00am to 4:00pm. The UMA community and the general public are also invited to the opening reception and artist talk on Wednesday, November 20th from 12:00pm to 1:00pm. Refreshments will be served.