Architecture Art

THE SILENCE OF SACRED SPACE

Jacques Garnier’s photography series Hymns to the Silence celebrates architecture and the art of emptiness.

Ripples, 2019, Geisel Building, La Jolla

Jacques Garnier’s works are carefully composed, sparse images that evoke the feeling of abandonment of architectural structures, yet within the compositions he creates totally new spaces. In the last several years, the Laguna Beach artist has focused more closely on the details of the structures that he records, dissecting them into distinct and independent parts of the original.

In Hymns to the Silence at Laguna Art Museum, Garnier’s high-contrast, black and white photographs are carefully composed, detailed images of parts of architectural structures in Southern California. By finely focusing on the details, and with an eye to graphic composition and the use of negative space, he has created new images for the viewer to contemplate. 

The negative space is Ma, a Japanese word meaning “gap,” “space,” or “pause.” In a work of art, Ma exists as an emptiness yet to be filled, a silence “between the notes which make the music.” The negative spaces in these new works are indeed a hymn to the silence. For Garnier’s Hymns to the Silence, the idea of Ma is embedded in the very title of the collection itself. 


Hymns to the Silence will be on view at Laguna Art Museum from February 28 to May 31, 2021. The exhibition is curated by Janet Blake, who recently retired from the museum, and it is accompanied by a book with essays by Douglas McCulloh, Marrie Stone, and Clayton Spada. 

Guess Tomorrow, 2019, Salk Institute, La Jolla

“A building cannot exist without the space around it. Emptiness itself gives the structure meaning. Our eyes are trained to filter out the negative space—to see only objects, people, buildings. The eye rarely rests on emptiness. It seeks out a subject for the brain to consume, digest, interpret, and manipulate. Jacques Garnier’s work asks viewers to set aside their predisposition for consumption and simply…rest. In a world of increasing noise, Garnier’s collection reminds us that beauty is found in the silent pauses between sounds and in the empty spaces between the monuments men create.”

—Marrie Stone 
Eternal Recurrence, 2019, Lundquist Institute, Torrance


Ascension, 2020, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles


Shul, 2020, Sinai Temple, Los Angeles


The Veil and the Vault, 2020, The Broad, Los Angeles


Pointing Towards Eternity, 2019, Geisel Library, UCSD, La Jolla


Contemplation, 2019, Pacific Life Building, Newport Beach


Un monde à l’envers, 2019, Saddleback Valley Insurance Center, Mission Viejo


Seiche, 2020, Newport Beach Public Library


Perspicere, 2020, University Hills Community Center, Irvine

Hymns to the Silence | Through May 31, 2021

Laguna Art Museum | 307 Cliff Drive | Laguna Beach | lagunaartmuseum.org | jacques-garnier.com

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