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Magic and mercantilism both peddle the talismanic quality of objects—salable, auratic puzzle pieces keyed to specific lives. In his exhibition, cochi at Visitor Welcome Center, ektor garcia’s bevy of objects—his wares, as it were—lay in loose arrangements atop sheets on the floor, or are tacked to the unadorned wall studs dividing the gallery. His forms bleed one into the other, drawing from similar materials: suede, leather, wax and resin, and crocheted wire or rope. All seem the product of both craft and decay—meaning, use, and specificity are either long gone or yet to coalesce.
The press release for the show quotes artist David Wojnarowicz: “If I could figure out a way to remain forever in transition, in the disconnected and unfamiliar, I could remain in a state of perpetual freedom.” Garcia’s work evokes the Sisyphean as much as the plane of total freedom—an endless labor where one is ‘free’ from the curse of idle hands. Serpentine mama (all works 2017) hangs in the hallway, a skein of crocheted waxed linen that suggests a doily gone awry. The loops gather and fan out, evoking cellular division. Tirado appears to be garment cuts of suede abandoned at some early point of assembly. Twine, rings, and bridles appear throughout, forming a disquieting psychosexual undercurrent. Similarly, the occasional human-scaled hand or leg form that garcia throws into the mix seem unnecessarily pitched toward an embodied reading.
In lending itself to an open-ended variety of themes, garcia’s partiality is ultimately haywire. In the Unmonumental catalogue, writer Trevor Smith lays out the notion of a “minor place” in sculpture, in which the principles of self-sufficiency and provisional materials combine “to structure precise yet puzzling arrangements of objects.” We might place garcia in this continuing lineage. But in skating up to various meanings, or simply phenomena—magic, transmutation of labor into material goods, skin-as-fabric—the artist privileges openness over clarity.
ektor garcia: cochi runs November 4–December 23, 2017 at Visitor Welcome Center (3006 W. 7th St., Suite 200A, Los Angeles, CA 90005).