Camille Rose Garcia “Nereids of Mare Medusae” @ Roq La Rue, Seattle
Roq la Rue is pleased to welcome back one of the biggest artists in the Pop Surrealism movement, Camille Rose Garcia, for a solo show this July. Her work is known for it's enchanting "creepy cool" vintage cartoon like graphic style combined with serious commentary about sociopolitical themes, mostly the environment and its destruction at mankind's hands. For this show, however, Garcia delves into a fantastical other-world guarded and guided by beautiful nymph-like creatures and animals who live in otherworldly seas, as a means of holding on to wonder versus despair. The palette of this show deviates from the previous day-glo spectrum she was exploring most recently, to feature washy pastels, like the inside of a shell or the shifting translucent colors of abalone. Coral, water serpents, and jellyfish populate dream-like lunar oceans, which are the domain of the Nereids, benevolent water spirits.
"I think the human events of the past few years has left me stargazing and ocean wandering as a survival strategy. I can’t only make art about a dying world, about a dying culture, when there is still so much mystery and awe inspiring beauty to experience all around us. My enchantment with ocean and star themes is greatly influenced by my environment. I live 20 minutes from the Pacific Ocean in California, and during the Pandemic I would take weekly ocean hikes with my mom, who lives in a house overlooking the ocean that my grandfather built. It became a source of great comfort and solace to be at the ocean picking up shells and weird pieces of driftwood, and I wondered about its power to enchant and calm humans through difficult times.
For my solo show, “Nereids of Mare Medusae”, I was thinking of the ocean and of the stars, and then, of course, about oceans on other stars. I started to imagine the oceans on other planets, as I remembered that Europa and Enceladus, (moons of Saturn and Jupiter) both have oceans inside the moon, surrounded by a thick crust of ice. I looked to see if these oceans had names, but I couldn't find any. I decided to name the ocean inside Enceladus, one of Saturns’ moons. I named it Mare Medusae, not after Medusa, but after the beautiful jellyfish drawings of Ernst Haeckel, who named the most beautiful jellyfish he encountered after his dead wife Anna. The Nereids are Greek ocean spirits, but unlike the Sirens, they are benevolent in nature. The Nereids aren't just pretty to look at though, they are busy doing stuff in that ocean inside that moon orbiting Saturn. Perhaps they build magical instruments and organic machines made of shells and serpents, creating a psychedelic universe with benevolent music vibrations." - Camille Rose Garcia