Giovanni Garcia-Fenech has a great origin story. He was an Artnet editor and gallery manager and one of those people who worked around an industry but wasn’t someone actually making in an industry. His story is very relatable.
Eventually, Garcia-Fenech left talking about art to pursue his own art making and ended up finding success with his own paintings, in his own expression. His most current body of work is a funny self-reflection by way of a body of painted bodies. The works are awkwardly contorted self-portraits that have a naked figure wrapped around corners and dodging balls and getting all bulbous and bumpy to fit into frame. They’re funny and honest and silly art fun.
The obvious tie in this group of paintings is to Matisse, whose cut bodies were a means to explore the boundaries of human form. Garcia-Fenech’s works are a great deal more literal, connecting personal character study with exaggerated, alien ideas of humanity. We all know these paintings are of a human but you could easily see them as fleshy fake blobs instead of very thoughtful, adorable depictions of how Garcia-Fenech sees himself.
That awkwardness helps, too. Because he’s leaning over corners and dealing with “problems” (balls), you get the idea that this work wasn’t easy to make or easy to share. The figures are all tense and flexed but are inevitably lumps. They are not possible to hate. They are just so sweet, the type of work that feels like a photo album of someone growing up, of someone letting you see the real them.