Kathryn Garcia: gone, gone way beyond
Kathryn Garcia’s work is rooted in her studies of ancient and sacred sites and the ways in which historical feminist archetypes have informed human consciousness. Provocative and often interactive, her work takes a variety of forms including site-specific performance, sculpture, and drawing.
The exhibition title gone, gone way beyond is a quote from the Heart Sutra, a Buddhist text. Garcia’s project seeks to offer viewers metaphoric passageways to a place of greater refuge and, in turn, greater wisdom. In this work the notion of gaining wisdom itself becomes a form of refuge, which is increasingly important in the current climate of widespread political and cultural anxiety.
The central component of Garcia’s installation is Hipogea Nº33, the pyramid. Hipogeais is a Greek term meaning underground tombs, and Garcia considers the pyramid and tomb as feminine forms that can envelop a body and suggest emptiness. Hipogea Nº33 is inspired by Garcia’s travels to ancient Phoenician sites in Ibiza, Spain. The Phoenicians worshiped the female deity Tanit, who was thought to transport souls across the mythical River Styx after death. In the work on view at OCMA, emptiness serves as a metaphor for death, or as a passageway to the other side, to enlightenment.
Central to the work is Garcia’s invitation to visitors to spend time inside the pyramid and take a moment of refuge from their daily lives to reflect or meditate. The smaller geometric sculptures Lucernas de Cuerpo I and II are highly reflective, so they appear as both form and light and can be used as meditation tools. Garcia has also organized a series of events for the public that further engage sustained participation with her installation. The empty space of the pyramid will serve as the site for sound healings, meditations, and other events that offer visitors further opportunities to explore these ideas of emptiness, wisdom, and refuge.
The exhibition also includes Garcia’s drawings titled Forma I-IV,which operate as mandalas or tools for inspiring consciousness. These abstract images play with the concept of form/formlessness and reveal the misconception of this duality. According to the Heart Sutra, "form is emptiness, and emptiness is form.” We are reminded here that both are one and the same.
Kathryn Garcia was born in 1978 in Los Angeles. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles and Ibiza, Spain.
Hipogea Nº33, 2018
Polished stainless steel
10 x 8 x 10 feet
Courtesy of the artist