Studio Visit: Jeremiah Ibarra

Jeremiah Ibarra is an artist based in Texas. His work can be seen in PLEAT's July 2015 exhibition as well as jeremiahibarra.com. 

What is the importance of the valued and the mundane in your work?
An individual can simultaneously like and dislike an object within a few seconds of seeing it. The point for me where this becomes clearly evident is in the curation of objects I encounter, be it objects I use in my day to day life, or objects I incorporate into certain pieces. There is always a point where materials or objects becoming something else. Their intrinsic value shifts. My interest is in this inflection: the liminality between material and the valued object.  This is where my work takes place.

There is a specific time period and place these objects increase in value and peak my interest. This inflection occurs at different rates, and the liminal space can fluctuate. I grow fond of these objects over time. This fondness for certain objects was initially realized through the overuse of the functional objects within my daily practice. There is a relationship that I have with my mugs and coffee makers that I do not have with other objects. The fondness for objects I live with and use for routine meals influenced my fondness for other objects outside of my day-to-day routines.

Do you feel as though viewers understand your work? To what degree is it important to you that they do or don't?
The work is equivocal in subject matter and content. The pieces often occupy several roles where the content rarely lines up with the subject matter. This situation makes for different levels of access for the viewer. The work has a different meaning for me than it could ever have for anyone else. When it is learned, it is often emptied of its newness, spent. As of late, my intention and process for this work can closely be related to asemic writing. The viewer should be left with some level of curiosity.

What drives your aesthetic choices?
The Spoon and Preschool Story:

The earliest memory I can recall where this value shift was apparent took place in a preschool cafeteria. I was asked to distribute spoons for our apple sauce at breakfast. Not all of the spoons were made of the same design. Primarily, they were your run-of-the-mill cafeteria line spoons; there were a handful of spoon designs I recognized from my mother’s kitchen (till this day my mother has a large mismatched set of silverware). While passing them out I had saved one of the oddball spoons for myself.

This selection of a spoon, a minuscule and meaningless act, might have come from a desire for eccentricity; but it might just have come from an interest in the object itself.  It might have come from a purely selfish place or the opposite, a place of humility. The spoon itself was nothing of worth; it was not aesthetically pleasing, it was not made of silver. It was not used but for a few minutes. The shift in value brought about by its selection became secretive and partially obsessive very quickly.

This is the type of decision making that is necessary for my work.