Sink and Mirror

Sink and Mirror is an oil on wood painting done by Spanish painter Antonio Lopez Garcia in 1967. The size is 38 5/8 x 32 7/8 inches and it is currently in Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. In the painting, Lopez Garcia displays a view of a usual bathroom with a sink and a mirror. Below the mirror, he painted a number of hygiene and grooming items on the glass shelf, which includes toothpaste, toothbrushes, “Agua De Colonia Aneja” cologne, a small scissors, tweezers, a razor, a blade, a turquoise hairbrush, and two combs.

On the sink, a used oval shaped soap is placed on the left side and a rusty razor blade is placed on the right. The sink is labeled “Roca” and it has a chrome faucet with hot and cold knob handles and a black rubber sink stopper. On the left side of the painting, a white electrical wall socket is placed, while a part of a light blue and white towel is shown on the right. A tiny part of a light bulb is shown above and a piece of grey clothing appears below. According to the book, “Lopez Garcia had adopted a frankly realist mode, focusing on mundane themes… his paintings suggest that there is a truth beyond what can be observed in daily life.”

When I initially saw this painting, I thought it was a photograph. I was impressed by the details that Lopez Garcia put into it. He meticulously painted the things that we commonly see every day. The tiles on the wall and the polygon tiles on the ground look very real. Even the soap scum, the grime, the dirt on every corner are too detailed. It almost like I could touch, taste, and smell them. I could even hear a water dripping sound. What makes this painting more real is the sunlight reflection on the sink that is probably coming from a small window on the right. I don’t think I am a sexist but if I have to guess, a man owns this bathroom, as the whole bathroom looks untidy. Occasionally, a woman visitor probably comes because it looks like there is a lipstick next to the cologne. There are also two toothbrushes, a lip liner brush, and a powder brush, but they could just be all his.

The more I stare at the painting, the more it makes me feel bizarre. It is already weird that it feels like I know the bathroom so well. Furthermore, the scene makes me feel empty, and the tile reflection on the mirror could be the reason. It looks so lonely and eerie at the same time. However, as I closely examine the painting, the perspective looks odd. In my opinion, the tile division in the middle shouldn’t be there as it makes it look like two different paintings. Lopez Garcia could have intentionally painted it this way as we all look down when we use the sink. Yet, the absence of a person’s reflection in the mirror makes his objective impossible.

While this painting may still have flaws, I honestly cannot believe that I am genuinely impressed by a mirror and sink painting. It is what we see a few times every day yet we don’t pay attention to it. Lopez Garcia successfully depicted a scene that looks so ordinary, yet there are truth and something really extraordinary about it.