San Diego Museum Of Art Features Mexican Sculptor Javier Marin
Free gallery space allows visitors to immerse themselves in art
The internet can provide a virtual gallery of almost anyone’s art. But seeing art such as Javier Marin’s striking sculptures up close is a completely different experience. San Diego Museum of Art curator Michael Brown shared the best way to appreciate these works.
Sculpture exists in three dimensions and is best experienced face-to-face, especially when the works are the towering, tortured and beautiful nude sculptures of Mexico’s Marin.
"It’s certainly a much different experience to appreciate these works of art in person than to look on the artist’s website or on different media where you don’t get a sense of the scale and the richness of the material," Brown explained. "When I am standing here looking at the polyester resin and the natural light from the north is coming through the window at the top of the stairs and it’s changing the translucent color of various parts of these sculptures, and so as you move around the sculptures, the light effect changes and you get a sense of the materials that the artist is using."
Brown added that it was an exciting process to install the 24 figures of Marin’s "Little Women, Little Men."
"Initially. we had them lined up all along here in a row and they looked like three-foot chess pieces and then once the first figure was placed and the composition emerged in these two registers, the upper one and the lower one, once the figures were installed horizontally on the wall, this is when the composition came to life. The figures dialogue with one another, move toward each other, they pirouette around each other," Brown said.
To create his bronze figures, Marin uses ancient techniques such as lost wax casting, but he also employs modern materials like polyester resin.
"It’s cast polyester resin," Brown said of the sculptures. "They’re often areas where he cuts into the material or leaves holes in the figure’s limbs and torsos, there are also these intentional or not there are areas of repair that are left visible to the viewer. That process, being visible, is part of the meaning of the work of art, it’s as though it’s scar tissue of the kind of accrued experiences of this figure like we all have. He brings all of that to the exterior of the body of his work so when you see various other figures here where repair has been made intentionally it is very visible."
The sculptures convey a deep and compassionate sense of humanity.
"The artist talks about the importance of humanity," Brown stated. "Basically as the general philosophy in his work, which is the overarching idea of humanity, we’re made up of individuals but we are in it together."
In the work entitled "Group L1012," there is a panel of polyester resin with various pieces attached using iron wire. The choice of iron wire — and where the artist places it — adds a tortured quality to the powerful figures in his sculptures.
"You can see that the figures are made up of different parts and some of the anatomy has been broken down and then put back together using iron wire and these other figures upside down on the shoulders and heads of the figures are also attached using iron wire and all of this allows the viewer to see the process by which the artist and his team of technicians assembles these works," Brown explained. "And that is part of what the artist intends, he’s intending us to be able to see the material and to see inside the works of art themselves. These experiences allow the viewer to become a part of the work of art and so it becomes immersive when we are able to occupy the same space as these works of art and literally see inside them."
If you haven’t been to the San Diego Museum of Art recently, this free exhibit provides the perfect reason for making a trip and immersing yourself in art.
The exhibit of sculptures by Marin will be on display at San Diego Museum of Art’s free galleries through March.