Nona Garcia’s use of the X-ray machine has its origins in her childhood. Her parents were doctors, and as a young girl, she became familiar with hospitals and medical laboratories, and their equipment. X-rays were one of her first memories of viewing the everyday through a new lens; they allowed her to experience looking at the world differently, and to find the hidden nature of objects. Paradoxically, the objects she X-rays often become more mysterious, taking on a new life and creating a dichotomy between the transparent and the mystical, the sublime and the everyday.
Garcia’s work Hallow 2018 hovers between the celebratory and the macabre. The Gallery’s large windows become natural light boxes – recalling stained-glass cathedral windows – hosting a mandala formed from the X-rayed bones of animals. White and luminescent against a dense black background, the intricate symmetrical designs suggest flower and spiral motifs; it is only on closer inspection that the elements are revealed to be tiny parts of a spinal cord or a skull. Living corals are combined with the bones of animals – hyenas, camels, crocodiles, beavers, birds and deer – in an enigmatic reflection on the underlying presence of death in life.