Ruben Ochoa’s (BFA Fine Arts '97) “SAMPLED y SURVEYED” illustrates the artist’s penchant for transforming basic construction materials into structural installations charged with meaning. Primarily working in wood, metals and concrete, Ochoa’s referential works function as tools with which we can consider issues of social class and identity, while highlighting the artist’s interest in urban space. Despite their Minimalist appearance, Ochoa’s sculptures are contextually laden; primarily concerned with architectural and urban spaces’ ability to dictate our experiences, and, secondarily, those experiences as articulated from the perspective of a Latin American artist.
Deconstructing the exhibition’s title as a departure point, Ochoa alludes to his heritage and dual identity as a first-generation Mexican-American immigrant with the inclusion of “y” rather than “and.” To “sample” is to test and explore, as the exhibition intends to examine the natural and built environments by way of construction materials. Likewise, to “survey,” typically a function of topographic analysis, is to verify your own parameters and the parameters of those who surround you. This denotes Ochoa’s interest in urban space as an invisible social construct with the ability to control, isolate and marginalize.
Image: Ruben Ochoa: SAMPLED y SURVEYED at Art + Practice, Los Angeles. 9 September 2017 - 27 January 2018. Photo by Joshua White/JWPictures.com.