Ruben Ochoa: Watching, Waiting, Commiserating

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Currently at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego there are several exhibits featuring the work of Mexican-American artists. Each exhibit was fascinating in their own way, however, the one that stood out the most to me was Watching, Waiting, Commiserating by Ruben Ochoa. This LA-based artist was able to combine everyday materials typically associated with some form of labor and present them in a more outstanding and almost eerie manner. As mentioned in Ochoa’s description of this particular sculpture it “dwells in a space between literal enactment and abstract reference to labor, positing new relationships between the body and the built environment.” These eleven towering structures with shipping pallets as the body and wiry rebar poking out like legs give off this sort of sci-fi feel. When I first noticed these sculptures they immediately made me think of the alien ships in H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. With the rebar of each structure curling and entwining with one another towering at different heights it almost looks as if the sculptures themselves are alive. This can be seen even more so with it’s comparison to the recycled brick wall that separates this exhibit from the rest of the museum. Even with the wall obscuring ones view from the the majority of the sculpture we can still see the pallets towering over the top of it as if they are preparing to burst their way through. Perhaps this interaction of exhibits is intentional or perhaps it’s merely the interpretation of the beholder. Either way Watching, Waiting, Commiserating is compelling all on it’s own.

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