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MARU GARCIA

This is a color photograph of a sculptural work by Maru Garcia. The work is a circular glass vase half filled with living culture. The neck of the vase is covered with a tan cloth. The vase is placed on a pedestal that has a dimly lit top surface.

membrane tensions

installation, video

2020

courtesy of the artist

 

Click the image above to view the live stream of membrane tensions or click here.

The work of Maru Garcia explores the intersection of art, science, and environment, examining the ways in which we understand biological processes via collaboration in various forms. The presence of organic matter figures prominently in Garcia’s work, refracted through the microscopic lens of relationships, remediation, and concept of symbiogenesis. Her work is occupied by the unfixed capacity of living organisms to grow, break, and make way for a sustainable culture and future—in particular relationships between humans within the natural world. 

 

For this commissioned exhibition, the artist created a suite of new sculptural works, drawings, time-lapse video, live-stream video, and site-specific installation, connecting living components (in the form of cellulose composed of bacteria and yeast), or as the artist calls “unpredictable collaborations”, to create space for new interaction and invention. In a sense, the installation functions as a socially-distanced interactive space, riffing off traditional, scientific laboratory practices and architecture as a site for community, commonality, and experimentation. As both a private laboratory and public space, the installation is activated by a weekly harvesting and placement of the cellulose on-site, drawing on the Brutalist, architectural elements of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and tapping into the imbrications of visual art and science in the making.

 

The intersection of mediums, human/non-human interventions, and architecture in the work is important as well. Playing with viewers’ perception of the evolution of the installation, Garcia brings forth the idea of probing, projecting through and assimilating space by creating smaller ecosystems of life in the gallery centered on the cellulose made from the interactions and symbiosis of live microorganisms on-site. The symbiotic culture grown and harvested on-site produces a cellulosic film that is shaped as membranes and then presented on the gallery’s balcony windows, growing and evolving with each passing week of the exhibition. The presentation of these cellulosic films on the windows, in particular, extends the site as a common ground for this growth, but is punctuated by the use of technology (vis-à-vis web cameras) to both enable socially-distanced access but also separate us from the work. The intentional use in mediums speaks to the artist’s interest in how technology influences relationships between humans within the natural world, as well as pushes the idea of symbiogenesis, where the delineation between internal and external was essential for life forms to first emerge in the primordial soup of life.

 

While Garcia’s practice is often interpreted primarily in relation to her interest in the art and science realms, this show situates the artist’s exploration of these foundations as advancing a constellation of humanistic concerns: the relationship of individual and collective, the conflicted evolution of living things, and ultimately our shared power to reimagine the basic building blocks of a more just biosphere.

 

 

 

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This is a color photograph of a sculptural installation by Maru Garcia. In the center of the image is a circular glass vase half filled with living culture. The neck of the vase is covered with a tan cloth. The vase is placed on a pedestal that has a dimly lit top surface. To the back left of this work is a glass window with three circular, transparent films arranged in a triangular shape. To the back right of the center work is another circular glass vase half filled with living culture placed on a pedestal that has a dimly lit top surface.

membrane tensions

installation, video

glass containers with SCOBY culture, bacterial cellulose sculptures, IP camera, overhead projectors, drawings

2020

courtesy of the artist

 

Explore membrane tensions more in depth by clicking here.

This is a color photograph of a sculptural work by Maru Garcia. The photograph is a close-up of a circular glass vase half filled with living culture. The top half of this photograph depicts the condensation of water droplets against the clear glass, with green and yellow biomorphic shapes behind it. The bottom half of this photograph entails living culture hanging from the surface of the water. The culture is yellow in color and pairs against a green colored water.

membrane tensions

installation, video

glass containers with SCOBY culture, bacterial cellulose sculptures, IP camera, overhead projectors, drawings

2020

courtesy of the artist

 

Explore membrane tensions more in depth by clicking here.

This is a color photograph of a sculptural work by Maru Garcia. The work is a circular glass vase half filled with living culture. The neck of the vase is covered with a tan cloth. The vase is placed on a pedestal that has a dimly lit top surface. Toward the back right of this work is another similar sculptural work.

membrane tensions

installation, video

glass containers with SCOBY culture, bacterial cellulose sculptures, IP camera, overhead projectors, drawings

2020

courtesy of the artist

 

Explore membrane tensions more in depth by clicking here.

This is a color photograph of a sculptural work by Maru Garcia. The work is a circular glass vase half filled with living culture. The color of the culture appears to be a light green color, reflecting the colors of the trees outside in the background. The neck of the vase is covered with a tan cloth. The vase is placed on a pedestal that has a dimly lit, orange colored top surface. Behind this work are the gallery's glass balcony doors. In the back to the right of this work are two circular pieces comprised of the culture from the vase.

membrane tensions

installation, video

glass containers with SCOBY culture, bacterial cellulose sculptures, IP camera, overhead projectors, drawings

2020

courtesy of the artist

 

Explore membrane tensions more in depth by clicking here.

This is a color photograph of a sculptural installation by Maru Garcia. The sculpture, hanging on the right side of the image, is a biomorphic form composed of cellulose. Because of its translucent material, a shadow of this sculpture is clearly evident on the wall behind it.

membrane tensions

installation, video

glass containers with SCOBY culture, bacterial cellulose sculptures, IP camera, overhead projectors, drawings

2020

courtesy of the artist

 

Explore membrane tensions more in depth by clicking here.

This is a color photograph of a sculptural installation and light projection by Maru Garcia. The light projection is square in shape and focuses on a close-up of a biomorphic, sculptural form. The biomorphic form has various thin lines and holes.

membrane tensions

installation, video

glass containers with SCOBY culture, bacterial cellulose sculptures, IP camera, overhead projectors, drawings

2020

courtesy of the artist

 

Explore membrane tensions more in depth by clicking here.

This is a color photograph of an installation and light projection by Maru Garcia. There are three objects placed on a table with a brightly lit top. The objects (left to right) are: a tan, flat drawing, another tan, flat drawing, and a sculpture that takes a biomorphic form. The sculpture is placed upright.

membrane tensions

installation, video

glass containers with SCOBY culture, bacterial cellulose sculptures, IP camera, overhead projectors, drawings

2020

courtesy of the artist

 

Explore membrane tensions more in depth by clicking here.

This is a color photograph of a drawing by Maru Garcia. The drawing is on a tan, rectangularly shaped material with irregular edges and crinkles. In the center of the material is a cluster of membrane drawings.

membrane tensions

installation, video

glass containers with SCOBY culture, bacterial cellulose sculptures, IP camera, overhead projectors, drawings

2020

courtesy of the artist

 

Explore membrane tensions more in depth by clicking here.

This is a color photograph of a sculptural work by Maru Garcia. The sculpture is biomorphic form composed of cellulose and thin copper wiring. The sculpture is illuminated from a light source beneath it, creating highlights and shadows of the transparent material..

membrane tensions

installation, video

glass containers with SCOBY culture, bacterial cellulose sculptures, IP camera, overhead projectors, drawings

2020

courtesy of the artist

 

Explore membrane tensions more in depth by clicking here.

Biography

 

(b. 1982, Puebla, Mexico)

 

Maru García (she/her) is a transdisciplinary artist and researcher working across art, science and environmental disciplines. Her methodology includes both the social and hard sciences, combining a versatile laboratory and fieldwork from her background in plant chemistry and the chemical industry. Her use of media includes research, installations, performance, sculpture, and video, usually with the presence of some kind of organic matter to help understand the biological processes occurring in complex systems. García’s work highlights the importance of eco-aesthetics, where relationships and community are proposed as a way of building a sustainable culture. At the same time, she questions the ways science and technology have influenced the relationship between humans within the natural world.

 

García has participated in conferences, solo and group exhibitions in North America, Europe, and Asia. She was an artist in residence in the National Center of Genetic Resources in Mexico and received awards from Los Angeles Sustainability Collaborative, Clifton Webb Scholarship for the Arts, and Fundación Jumex. She is based in LA and holds an MFA in Design & Media Arts from the University of California Los Angeles, as well as an M.S. in Biotechnology and B.S. in Chemistry from Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico.