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ektor garcia: cadena perpetua

23 May - 29 July
Organized by: SculptureCenter
Venue: SculptureCenter
44-19 Purves St
Long Island City, NY
11101

ektor garcia’s work looks like things meant to connect other things, like fasteners, loops, and knots. By extension, it can look like lengths of rope and chain. His clay, metal, and leather elements conjoin loosely across many works and travel between studio and gallery spaces in changing configurations: one exhibition, clipped off with wire cutters, is tacked to another. One link in a chain, broken off, is reattached with copper wire. As such, the dimensions of garcia’s works are found both here and elsewhere. The disorienting sum of many visible connections invites disassociation from any one symbolic register in his materials.

 

In spite of allusions to distance and time beyond the exhibition, garcia’s material transformations and juxtapositions are immediate. Hard but fragile surfaces, like ceramic, are often tightly wrapped in more malleable materials, like waxed thread or copper wire, which likewise take on different properties when crocheted into large sheets of lace. garcia’s intensive, ongoing production extends beyond discrete objects to create a pool of heavily worked, controlled materials – earthenware vessels, swaths of leather and lace, welded steel horseshoes and tools – that are poised for recombination. Contortions of handmade leather links twist into line drawings, or steel elements are tack-welded into simple figures, like images emerging from piles of scrap. Other works seem coupled to themselves, like links of clay fired and glazed together in knotted clusters, foregrounding accumulated points of connection.

 

garcia’s work implicitly asks where in chains of production, tradition, and command one might locate oneself, and how this is knowable. His work, for example, faithfully continues certain rural handcraft and gendered family traditions from Tabasco in Zacatecas, Mexico, while his own itinerant lifestyle necessarily drags the detritus of many places into his practice. Social and cultural associations of these techniques, materials, and objects are reimagined through garcia’s trajectory. His compositional vocabulary of hitching, gripping, and tying guesses at how one might wind oneself around and into a chain, hugging it while corroding it and refashioning its parts.