Kathryn Garcia: gone, gone way beyond
through March 17
Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA), Santa Ana
Written by Liz Goldner
Kathryn Garcia mines her lifelong spiritual quest to create elegant drawings, sculptural pieces and installations. She investigates “historical feminist archetypes,” which she infers, inform human consciousness. To re-create this feminine model in various pieces, she uses the triangle and pyramid.
Inspired by her travels to ancient and sacred sites, the L.A. based artist (of Mexican heritage) fills two galleries with artworks that possess harmony and grace, while simultaneously bringing the viewer to a place of quiet, introspection and hopefully greater wisdom.
Her installation, Hipogea No33 (2018), filling one of the galleries, contains a minimally constructed pyramid made of six polished stainless steel rods. Within this pyramid, several cushions invite viewers to sit down, relax and even meditate if they desire. Surrounding the pyramid, shiny stainless steel geometric sculptural pieces, Lucernas de Cuerpo I and II, are reflective, capturing the light and hopefully energy, according to the artist. Garcia has co-opted the term “Hipogea,” which means underground tombs in Greek; as she considers the pyramid and even the tomb as feminine forms that can simultaneously envelop a body and suggest emptiness. With the artist’s focus on meditation and on yearning for a higher consciousness, she invites museum-goers to enter her pyramid, to experience its ethereal vibe.
In Garcia’s adjacent gallery, she has installed three large complementary drawings of pale blue colored pencil and graphite on Stonehenge paper. Forma II (2018) features adjoining triangles within a wash of blue and white. Forma I and III in the same blue include triangles, circles and squares. These are the artist’s personal mandalas, which she explains inspire a higher consciousness.
“Gone gone way beyond,” with its title as a quote from the Heart Sutra, is as much about the total installation and its sense of flow, as about the individual pieces. It is also an example of OCMA’s new ambiance in its expanded space in a former high-end furniture store in South Coast Plaza Village. In this environment, seven individual exhibitions are installed in galleries that open out or “flow” through large portals to the other museum shows, creating movement from one show to the next. All of these exhibitions have minimal characteristics, with a few others inviting the viewers to engage with the work, as Garcia’s does.
Garcia’s installation adjoins “Everyday Grappling Operations” by Mariángeles Soto-Díaz from Venezuela, now living in Irvine. The artist, who is an avid Judo practitioner, has created various art pieces, including a spiral sculptural piece, Judo Belt Coil (2018) and floor mats, all made from Judo belts. She invites viewers to practice Judo in her space, as she sometimes does when she visits the museum.
Also adjoining Garcia’s exhibition is Valentina Jager’s “the face the mouth the back,” with its large collaged and pastel colored tissue papers, hung from cords and slightly swaying with the air movement. While the theme of Jager’s show (large abstract interpretations of violent images from Mexico’s drug wars, created with the papers) is quite different from Garcia’s, there is balanced visual interaction between the two.