Liminal curatorial Statement

Liminal is the culmination of Covarrubias’ observations of the ICA’s architecture and space. For several months, the artist has studied how light pours through the skylights to cast shadows on the walls, noted the way air moves when the front doors open and thoughtfully listened to the ambient sounds of the galleries. Informed by this research, Covarrubias has created a site specific installation comprised of suspended layers of tracing paper. The accumulation of this overlaid film dramatically alters the physical space and our relationship to it. As we move through the installation, we may notice the subtle movement of light, the various tones of transparency or the quiet flutter of the paper. In paying close attention to what may otherwise be considered invisible, Covarrubias has built an environment intended for introspection.

Covarrubias has long been interested in the perception of space and how it can alter or be altered by one’s mental state. When he was a child growing up in San Jose, he created forts, houses and spaceships to transport himself to imaginary worlds. Today, he employs a similar process of play and experimentation to communicate his artistic vision. The blurry layers of the installation convey his “veiled emotions and memories” associated with coming back to his boyhood home, a place that was once familiar and now feels different. Where we are, according to Covarrubias, is not just a dot on a map but is relative to memories, relationships and a state-of-mind.

In addition to his personal experience, Covarrubias’ work has been deeply influenced by a long line of contemporary artists practicing minimalism, abstraction and conceptualism including Robert Irwin, Sol LeWitt and Richard Serra. Interested in perception, architecture, light, and space, Covarrubias often begins with a sketch, which develops into a sculpture or installation and is often captured in a photograph. In addition to his immersive installation, Covarrubias will be an Artist-in-Residence at the ICA Print Center where he will create a set of limited edition prints.

-Susan O'Malley & Cathy Kimball, curators

April 10, 2010

Liminal Project Information


Liminal.  A site-specific installation.

Paper, wood, adhesive, natural and artificial light, mixed media.

23 x 44 x 20 feet.

San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, Focus Gallery

560 South First Street, San Jose, CA.

Curated by Susan O'Malley & Cathy Kimball

Exhibition dates:  April 10 to July 3, 2010.

Liminal, 2010.  Entrance to the gallery.

Installation process of Liminal on video: