I Am Violet, 2014
Copper, 16' x 16' x 11.4'
Fire Box: Mirrored Polished Stainless Steel, Wood, 4' x 4' x 2'
Upon viewing this work, I thought immediately of Eric Orr's fire work (see image below) and wondered if and how Garcia was working with similar ideas. It seems the relationship between copper and fire is an instinctive one, especially for those of focused energy and aspiration. The simplicity of working with basic elements (fire, air, water, and earth) within a particular framework emphasizing upward movement of energy could be thought about as timeless (think painted walls near cave fires or Tatlin's Tower, maybe). Of course, fires and towers might conjure other more recent, readily available images of a complicated kind. Whatever the case, renewal is invoked.
Cultural associations aside, what might be different here in the present artwork is an unclear intent and relation to site. With the perimeter walls of the courtyard painted white (at least in part) and the ground beneath the work the same, there is certainly a suggested framework, though loose in every dimension and not a bad thing, actually. I just can't tell exactly where the frame is, that is to say the edge when I'm supposed to stop considering external conditions as factors to the work. This is a good proposition, but even so, everything is not everything. Certain views allowed this interplay between work and site (and expanding external conditions) to become interesting as the existing architecture meets its neighbors and the skylines. Perhaps the way the walls are painted in relation to object and sky provide clues...? Where this breaks down a bit for me is in the lack of an actual fire of any moment or schedule (an opportunity to communicate to an audience better) as well as the dimensional variability listed on the checklist which implies this can be made to order in any size. I can't tell whether the message is absence (as in there is never a fire here but only its residue) or you should've been there (as in like a missed sunset, it was a great event but not anymore). Again, I like the questions that are being set up here about being and place. I'm just not sure what to focus on, exactly.
In the end, the question for me is how different is this than the opportunities I have to contemplate a structure and fire in my own backyard or at my local fireplace store to survey models, flip through catalogs, and then order one of similar size as Garcia's or perhaps something more modest depending on the spatial needs of where I imagine this fire pit to eventually reside? While potentially an interesting model to think about in terms art making and commerce these days, I like the idea better that this work only exists in situ for the duration of its presentation (as a gesture of uniqueness and presentness) and that it calls attention to where we are it in terms of a desire to have a relationship to external factors that function, foremost, internally. Again, we are back to the fire and its symbolic and literal function as energy transformer and illuminator. Honestly, it would have been nice to just see a fire going, continually, to get back to Orr's suggestion about regularity and intermittent potency, chance and alternation. Of course, as my second image of his suggests below, his fire and copper sculpture from 1991 hasn't worked as designed in a long time. I like that it's still there in all its latency. Lights out.
L.A. Prime Matter, 1991
Brass column with fire and water, height: 35 ft. (10.7 m.).
Permanent installation, Mitsui Fudosan Building, Los Angeles.
601 S Figueroa (as seen today via Google Maps)