Collection Catalog

Archive No.: 1

Title: The Artist's Statement

Creation: Santa Clara, 02016-17

 

Curator's Commentary:

An insightful commentary on the expectations of the commercial art market. The artist has taken the ubiquitous element of the “Artist’s Statement” in a commercial art exhibit and created a subversive response. Instead of placing the exhibition visitor in the position of a passive spectator whose perceptions must be managed, the work creates a collaborative experience that encourages the viewer to be sensitized to the core themes of the work and synergize them in ukulele chords that reflect the unique perspective of the viewer.1

 

 

Size: 13 in. wide, 13 in. tall, 1.25 in. deep

Provenance:

A: Collection of Max Shain, San Francisco

Linseed oil on layered pine case with aluminum and steel tensioning handle system. (pictured above)

 

B: Collection of Doug Crafts, Monte Sereno

Aluminum and canvas belt hook attaching to composite fiber case with basswood accents. Display stand incorporated in design.

 

C: Collection of Chris Knight, San Jose

Canvas shoulder strap with metal accents. Form fitting case with layered pine and weather shielding leather flap.

 

Archive No.: 2

Title: Reliquary for a Green Silk Kimono

Creation: Santa Clara, 02017

 

Curator's Commentary:

Reliquary for a Green Silk Kimono is a multi-layered sculpture incorporating at its core a green silk kimono gifted to the artist’s mother and was displayed by her for many years. The kimono was originally purchased by the artist at a benefit for the San Jose State University Art Alumni Association, the kimono having been donated by SJSU Alumna, Katherine Levin-Lau. The kimono is of green silk with embroidered mon of a Paulownia blossom. Enveloping sculptural layers incorporate themes of contemplative environments, 18-mat tatami layouts, archival storage of textiles, traditional Japanese and western furniture design, counter-intuitive access methodologies, symbology of long-term thinking, impermanence of habitation and watercolor painting.2

 

Media: Pine, Oak and Mixed Materials. Manufacturer documented with certificate of authenticity and stamped on interior surface: Mauritania Trading Company

Size: Closed case: 38 in. high, 27 in. wide, 27 in deep.

Provenance: Collection of the Artist

Archive No.: 3

Title: Protective Casing for an Unresolved Debt

Creation: San Jose, 02006

 

Curator's Commentary:

A sumptuous expression in leather, copper and canvas. Hearkening back to an earlier time with its textures and fittings but eminently practical for the contemporary traveler. It speaks of the luggage of a seasoned explorer, time worn and weather stained, experience rendered aesthetic. An explorer not just of physical realms, but those where the perspective on the past shifts as time accretes new experiences from an evolving identity. This was made to wander.3

 

Media: Ceramic, paper, steel, copper, wood, leather, canvas, soil, ceramic.

Size: Closed case: 12 in. high, 17 in. wide, 15 in deep.

Provenance: Collection of the Artist (Previously in the collection of the late Ray Ashley)

 

Archive No.: 4

Title: Modifiable Tesla Coil Transmitter with Encapsulated Reformat of a Broadcasted Radio Drama

Creation: Santa Clara, 02018

 

Curator's Commentary:

The aesthetics of antique scientific equipment are captured perfectly in this finely crafted sculptural palimpsest. Moraga expresses a refined sensibility in this complex creation. In contrast to most science/art works that are often a simple minded pastiche of “sciencey” visual tropes, or the conversion of complex ideas to dull clip-art style derivatives, this work fully integrates the rational functionality of scientific tools with multi-layered visual storytelling. All components are fully functional and align with the research of the referenced era, however Moraga has taken the extra step of incorporating subtle references to contemporary research into the Lambda-CDM model. Comes complete with alder wood carrying case.4

 

Media: Oak, pine, copper, waxed cotton string, glass, rubber, Japanese kozo paper and fiber board. Manufacturer marked with documentation.

Size: 13 in. wide, 19 in. tall, 13 in. deep

Provenance: Collection of the Artist

 

Archive No.: 5

Title: Isolation Casing for Repressed Obsession

Creation: San Jose, 01999

 

Curator's Commentary:

The lightly toned aluminum exterior of this case functions as a visual and tactile barrier to the nested interior. The artist’s addition of cabling and turnbuckles provide metaphorical and literal tension to the aesthetic. The footings of the base are steel roller balls allowing the entire sculpture to be easily moved about the surface on which it is placed. Not shown: The finely fitted interior cedar casing features a small framed black and white reproduction of Goya’s “Portrait of Juan Antonio Llorente” attached to the exterior with brass pins. Brass footings for the cedar box raise it above a black leather wrapped base.5

 

Media: Aluminum, brass, steel, leather, cedar wood, paper and soil.

Size: 9 in. deep, 10 inches high, 13 inches wide

Provenance: Collection of the Artist

 

Archive No.: 6

Title: Lotus Crate for Illumination in 528nm

Creation: San Jose, 02011

 

Curator's Commentary:

The elegantly robust crating system opens in a manner simulating the expanding petals of a blossoming lotus flower. The secure, tension enhanced, locking system reinforces the implications of a guarded exterior for a delicate object of purity held within. Marked on base: Mauritania Trading Company with symbol. Duplicate key set included. Minor water damage to exterior crate appropriate to the expectations of the artist.6

 

Media: Pine, steel, cedar chips, glass, cotton canvas, sodium vapor.

Size: 11 in. deep, 38 in. high

Provenance: Collection of the Artist

 

Archive No.: 7

Title: Box with Irregular Containment Seal for Deconstructed Relic of Conflict

Creation: San Jose, 01998

 

Curator's Commentary:

An early, seminal work by the artist - the unique expression of a creative breakthrough. Linseed oil applied to vintage redwood adds a rich, warm tone to a sensual surface treatment. The multiple embedded locking elements in staggered placement create an energetic counterpoint to the dark symmetry of box design. Due to a small quantity of volatile contents may be domestic ground shipped only.7

 

Media: Vintage redwood, aluminum, steel, canvas, brass, glass, trace amounts of potassium nitrate.

Size: 11 in. deep, 52 in. high, 34 in. wide.

Provenance: Collection of the Artist

 

Archive No.: 8

Title: Sarcophagus with UU-Encoded Image of Occupant Visage

Creation: San Jose, 01996

 

Curator's Commentary:

A tradition that began in ancient Egypt is rendered in a contemporary format with hints of antiquity. Softly rendered paper exterior creates a shroud around an unseen interior sarcophagus encapsulating a tension-formed smaller encasement. That encasement is dimensioned to allow gliding movement when the object’s orientation is subtly shifted. Moraga has been quoted as admiring the patient, methodical work of Howard Carter as an ethic for discovery and preservation - suitably expressed in this elegant work.8

 

Media: Paper, corrugated fiberboard, steel, cedar, bone.

Size: 4 in. wide, 13 in. high.

Provenance: Collection of the Artist

 

Archive No.: 9

Title: Labyrinth Access Through Parking Garage

Creation: Santa Clara, 02013

 

Curator's Commentary:

One of Moraga’s rare forays into photography expresses a perspective on perceptions of reality where ambiguity is a catalyst for revealing layers to our existence that would otherwise be passed by. The harsh lighting on concrete contrasting with vistas of darkness creates a foreboding space where uncertainty sensitizes the viewer to possibilities of losing their way… and themselves. Curatorial research has yet to discover the precise location but it is believed this image was captured in Downtown Portland. Sealed frame includes artist signed certificate of date of palimpsestual encapsulation. Limited edition of one in this format.9

 

Media: Paper, oak veneer plywood, aluminum, ink, glass.

Size: 27 in. wide, 40 in. tall.

Provenance: Collection of the Artist

 

Archive No.: 10

Title: 113 Stereographic Views of San Francisco - Early 21st Century - Volume I

Creation: Santa Clara, 02016

 

Curator's Commentary:

Moraga perfectly captures the evolving state of one of the planet’s most dynamic urban environments, San Francisco, in this 3-dimensional photo survey. Images captured at the cusp of the explosive growth in “The City” provide an amazing record of how the landscape of a city can change with shocking speed. From the blossoming of the once-familiar downtown skyline to the bizarre disappearance of gas stations, this beautifully designed volume walks the reader through quiet neighborhoods and bustling districts that in the space of a few short years have undergone tectonic upheavals. The limited edition of 20 copies include a whimsical map with photo view-points, attached lorgnette viewer, archival DVD of the stereo images and a rare, original dual-image film positive from the vintage 3d camera used in the project.10

 

Media: Hardbound book,

Size: 13 in. high, 10 in. wide in labeled case.

Provenance: Collection of the artist and the following libraries:

The Bancroft Library - University of California, Berkeley

Prelinger Library, San Francisco

The Long Now Foundation, San Francisco

San Francisco Museum and Historical Society, San Francisco

American Institute of Architects, San Francisco

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library - California Room, San José

SPUR (San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association) - San Francisco

 

Archive No.: 11

Title: Travel Case for Occulted View into Laboratory in the Shape of a Sundial

Creation: Santa Clara, 02018

 

Curator's Commentary:

This rare photographic work is a singular example of Moraga’s exploration of “lost vistas”. In this case, a multi-layered view into a laboratory space confuses concepts of a defined location and the certainty of visual experience. Where we are, and what we see, are now questions rather than statements; fulfilling the implications inherent in science and practiced in the laboratory. The physical locale of this photograph no longer exists. Curatorial research suggests it may have been taken in a barricaded and condemned building at San Jose State University. Associated traveling case is designed for durability and functionality while honoring the spirit of the interior vista. Sealed frame includes artist signed certificate of date of palimpsestual encapsulation. Limited photograph print edition of one.11

 

Media: Oak, kraft paper, brass, leather, glass, paper.

Size: 44 in. high, 32 in. wide in case.

Provenance: Collection of the Artist

Archive No.: 12

Title: Travel Case for Encryption Tableware

Creation: San Jose, 02004

 

Curator's Commentary:

Moraga’s mastery of the implications of timelessness are on display with the intimate, personally scaled piece. The delicate, softly tinted aluminum handle with satin finish speaks to imagining a relaxed stroll along a cosmopolitan boulevard. The distressed fiberboard casing has a smooth, sensuous, suede-like quality that is inviting to the touch. Light-hearted surface treatments invite reflection upon an earlier time of analog associations. A cleverly crafted latch enables the owner to easily open the case and expose an opportunity for further discovery.12

 

Media: Aluminum, steel, glass, wood, plastic, fiberboard.

Size: 12 in. wide, 18 in. high.

Provenance: Collection of the Artist

Archive No.: 13

Title: Armored Travel Case for Reformatted Radio Broadcast with Ablative 57th Hexagram

Creation: Santa Clara, 02017

 

Curator's Commentary:

An insightful visual critique of the para-military styling fetish of the early 21st century. The brushed steel surface with rubber accents create an imposing presence. This is reinforced by the cotton webbing strap with leather handle and bright metal fixtures that imply restraint and control. The interior layer creates a strong emotional tension with the exterior casing through the incorporation of the 57th Hexagram of the I-Ching as a passive encapsulating component of the reformatted radio broadcasts.13

 

Media: Steel, rubber, oak, mahogany, paper, cotton and leather.

Size: 6 in. deep, 13 in. tall, 11 in. wide.

Provenance: Collection of the Artist

Archive No.: 14

Title: Travel Rigging for the Abstract to an Experiential Thesis in Consciousness Sensitization Expressed by the Ideal Labyrinth Discerned as a Parking Garage with Sequence Archetypes of The Long Way, The Chrysalis, and The Mysteries with Embedded Intersection Rendering

Creation: Santa Clara, 02019

 

Curator's Commentary:

Inspired by the accoutrements of an expeditionary lifestyle, this compact work evokes exploration beyond immediate perceptions. The finely worked Argentinian leather highlights the warm patterns of the matched wood grain panels. Brass hardware shines and cryptic symbols hint of deeper content fragmented in sensuous paper with tones of sienna.14

 

Media: Leather, brass, plywood, Mulberry fibers, copper.

Size: 18 in. high, 12 in. wide.

Provenance: Collection of Tony May

Archive No.: 15

Title: Inquiry on the Dreams of St. Joseph as an Alternating Cypher in the Shape of a Jericho Labyrinth

Creation: Santa Clara, 02019

 

Curator's Commentary:

In this keystone component of a larger installation, Moraga blends the experience of the spiritual with the analytical in an invitation to the inner quest. The warm, oak wood labyrinth is inseparable from the mystic history of humanity and the hierophanic quest while the cryptographic convolutions of crimson lettering has roots in espionage and the occult. This intersection of sacred and profane mysteries becomes a conceptual gateway to a deeper insight into the consciousness of dreams and the imperative they may provoke in a receptive mind. This piece is now considered lost as it has been returned to its origin locale, a secret room with a camouflaged entrance dedicated to the Catholic Saint Joseph.15

 

Media: Oak, brass, red chop ink, plywood.

Size: 22 in. high, 22 in. wide.

Provenance: Concealed

Archive No.: 16

Title: Storage Case for an Obsolete Art Object in the Shape of an Altar Table

Creation: San Jose, 02003

 

Curator's Commentary:

This sculpture reliquary in the shape of an elegant altar table takes much of its inspiration from Japanese shoji screen design and an early 17th century screen featuring crows currently in the collection of the Seattle Asian Art Museum. It is theorized that Moraga originally discovered the artwork in a postcard collection. Like artists of the Impressionist era such as Vincent Van Gogh and Mary Cassatt, Moraga has felt a profound sympathy to the qualities of clarity and simplicity in traditional Japanese artwork. The sharp-edged linseed oil stained red oak is given a cool, liquid quality by the flowing water patterning of the table top. Side panels capture the flight of a crow in a light, translucent patina that reinforce its function as a catalyst for meditation.16

 

Media: Red oak, paper, animal-derived medium, salt, aluminum, bronze, corrugated cardboard.

Size: 38 in. wide, 22 in. high, 14 in. deep.

Provenance: Collection of Pearl & Lotus Zendo

Archive No.: 17

Title: Tansu Stand with Embedded Artwork of Loss in the Context of Interrupted Travel

Creation: San Jose, 02016

 

Curator's Commentary:

This refined Red Oak stand for a Meiji era merchant’s tansu communicates Moraga’s interest in the capacity of ordinary objects to express the quality of “hiddenness”. The clean, precise and functional nature of the stand acts as a form of aesthetic camouflage and defense to the implied vulnerability of interior contents. The stand is carefully crafted with Japanese inspired joinery that reinforces the idea that unity and stability are the outcome of a long and laborious process.17

 

Media: Red Oak, paper, brass, basswood, colored pencil.

Size: 7 in. high, 28 in. wide, 13 in. deep.

Provenance: Collection of the Artist

Archive No.: 18

Title: Shrine for the Sculpted Relief of a Dead Princess

Creation: San Jose, 02015

 

Curator's Commentary:

The traditional aesthetic of mortuary furniture informs this somber work by Moraga. The classical woodwork styling carries great weight while the gold glow of the oak implies reverence and the passage of time. The steel handle hardware has been patinated in the same manner as the iron components of antique Japanese tansu furniture.18

 

Media: Oak, steel, leaves, clay.

Size: 5 in. high, 7 in. deep, 22 in. wide.

Provenance: Collection of the Artist

1. I have always liked cardboard calculation tools. They are usually radial devices with one or more discs on top of the other. The discs have windows and as they are rotated, information is revealed through the window or pointed to at the edge. It could be the exposure time for a darkroom enlarger or conjugations for a word in French. This work was designed with a theme of sensitization for the experience of art. Words, symbols and phrases can open an avenue to different ways of perceiving our world. To use them as a subjective assignment to sounds I hope this would be a playful and enlightening experience.

 

2. Sometimes an object starts out as something delicate, rare and beautiful. Then along the passage of its life it picks up an emotional resonance. A reminder and a trigger to people and past times. Such is the case with the kimono I purchased for my mother. It spent many years displayed on the wall of her living room. But when she died, what to do with it? No one in the family was interested in having it and I wasn’t ready to simply discard it or hand it off to a thrift store, stripped of the context of its recent years. So instead I gave it a robust armor, a way to save it and carry it forward through time along with a few mementos of my mother’s love of Japanese art. Now it is encapsulated, hidden, in a small table whose strength, beauty and functionality will keep it safe until it is discovered, and hopefully, appreciated again. “Mono no aware” is phrase in Japanese that best captures this experience for me. It is one of the core concepts of my work.

 

3. The rough, ragged shell of the oyster conceals the soft beauty of the pearl. The smooth, shimmering surface of the pearl blankets a rasping irritant. Kill the oyster to reveal the pearl, grind away the pearl to reveal a grain of sand. At what point does curiosity only reveal regret? Or can it be sustained in a prolonged moment of anticipation; subtle sweet desire floating gently in the mind like the feel of a hummingbird hovering over the palm of your hand?

 

4. Some years ago I discovered several vinyl records at a San Francisco thrift store. I found that these were original recordings of radio shows from the mid-1940's. After a great deal of research I came to believe that these are the only surviving recordings of two complete radio mystery dramas. It was intriguing to me that such fragile recordings should have survived over 60 years in perfect condition and that these recordings actually existed in two places: the vinyl records and a constantly attenuating pattern of radio waves 60 light years away in space. This story, its performance, and its sharing were a unique moment in time that captured such a strong sense of ephemerality that I was inspired to express it in two sculptures. At the core of these sculptures are two books. These books are digital recordings converted to text by a binhexing program, printed on paper, and bound. The complete digital recordings have since been erased. For the "Tunable Tesla..." sculpture they are encapsulated in a functional high voltage transformer system with tunable rotating coils, glass dielectric capacitor and spark gap. The infection being that these could still be transmitted in some subtle, barely perceivable fashion through an as yet undiscovered medium. The casing is also designed to express the storage cases for scientific equipment of the era with hint of the contents of a niche in a columbarium, expressing the contradictions of rebirth and memorial.

 

5. Passion is either freely expressed or restrained beneath a cool exterior. What are the layers of human consciousness? What lies beneath words, gestures, and expressions? Every human being is a mystery and a palimpsest. Even the most disciplined introspection may still reveal surprises to what we see as our truest self. What did Goya see in this man when he painted his portrait? Or would a deeper appraisal reveal Goya's rendition as just a simple black and white portrayal?

 

6. Sometimes I find things. An ornate metal table lamp base. A street light ballast. Two objects of complementary function but for radically different uses. They should be brought together - redeemed in such a way that the excesses of each are celebrated. 16,000 Lumens. Yes, perfect for an evening at home curled up with a good book. Packaging is not a distraction. Locked and ready for transport or storage in extreme environments. Not to be taken lightly.

 

7. I made this with someone in mind then I changed my mind. The concept and creation came out of a brief fascination with the Russian Revolution of 1917. A popular revolt against an oppressive and entrenched monarchy that so quickly took a wrong turn to just another type of dictatorship. All that idealism and sacrifice ended in a Siberian wasteland or the basement of the NKVD. Matryoshka for a failed revolution: resistance, erasure, exile, imprisonment - and when the vaults are opened all the tragedy is fossilized to a museum piece.

 

8. The written word carries images, this one literally. Early limitations to the transfer of files across the Internet required that binary files be converted to plain text files. Which means that any type of material that could be digitized could also be typed out on paper. For the ancient Egyptian, as long as the name of the deceased was written down and spoken the soul would live on, and so the long lost image of this deceased is carried forward in time as writing.

 

9. Sometimes I see something that is perfectly mundane, yet somehow communicates an experience of this world that reveals some greater reality. There is no objective evidence for this insight, just a sense of a harmony that far exceeds any composition of space, surface, substance and time. Like the whorls of the surface of water that implies some unseen creature moving below.

 

10. Rick Prelinger of the Internet Archive gives yearly talks for the Long Now Foundation. At one he spoke of how difficult it was to find historical images capturing a sense of the times that weren’t just photos of flowers, tourist spots or smiling relatives of the photographer. That inspired me to create this collection. I owned the 3d camera for many years as I had inherited it from my grandfather who was an avid photographer. So it was a great deal of fun to wander about the city taking photos of things that may likely disappear or change drastically over time - speculating about what may look unusual or trigger nostalgia in future readers of the book. I kept a small note book of every location I took photos so if the environment changed, the locale could still be identified by marks on a map in the book. Once completed, I worked to have it included in as many libraries or collections as possible. A tiny quest for immortality.

 

11. See Footnote 9 above on a similar experience revealed in a photograph. For the sundial table, to ‘understand’ the experience of sun, earth and equinox is fairly simple. The ‘feeling’ is more difficult to capture for an infinitesimal creature on the surface of a planetary mass spinning and rolling through a stellar vacuum, a tiny sliver of a moment made exceptional from such a limited perspective, yet it sensitizes the mind to touch lightly on the overwhelming vastness of experience

 

12. Even now, years later, I can still remember the title: “Codes and Secret Writing”. In grade school ordering books from Scholastic was so much fun. I had this slim book for years until it finally fell apart from constant use.

 

13. See footnote 4. In this sculptural palimpsest the core material is the same, but the encasement explores a different theme. This being where the ephemeral and fragile is armored for survival and fitted for travel. The steel casing and straps manifest an object that lives in a defensive posture, ready to deflect blows and escape threats. Inside is a tensioned walnut wood carapace in the form of the 57th Hexagram of the I-Ching which stands for "Gentle Penetration", a softening layer which switches the surface to one where patience and appreciation are implied after harsher defenses are stripped away.

 

14. The archetype symbol sequence reading from bottom to top is composed of elements printed on paper that outline what is commonly called a “false door” in Egyptian tombs. “False door” is a misnomer as this was never intended as a ruse to confuse thieves, but likely gained that name when robbers tried to smash through it to an assumed hiding place only to discover nothing but native rock behind it. The door was intended to function more as a “spirit door”, representing an entry to the afterlife and the implied new residence of the deceased. As such, family members could place food offerings at the foot of the door much the same as food may be left at the door of a friend or family member if the intent was not to disturb, but offer support. As represented in Moraga’s work it would represent a transition boundary between one level of conscious awareness and a more expanded level, not an afterlife. The symbols are part of an ongoing project that is developing a method of sensitization to Cosmos through inspirational awareness and directed insight in the context of receptive contemplation. Categories of attention for Depth and Duration in a sensitized experience of consciousness are: Archetypes of Experience, Degrees of Perception, Tools of Discernment and Catalysts of Epiphany.

 

15. Joseph, husband of Mary in Christian history, is an unusual person. A man who finds himself in a situation far outside of the guidance of intellect and tradition. He is presented as a person of compassion and mercy, putting aside the expectation to denounce his pregnant fiancée, he seeks only to preserve her from public condemnation, and likely execution. But then there is an intervention, a dream. A dream, which to obey, requires that he change the entire trajectory of his life. For myself, there are dreams which seem little more that the brain doing the balancing and recovery of internal chemistry - disconnected images and abrupt changes in events. But there are other dreams. Dreams which open to what seems a more real world, rich in color and depth, finely detailed objects and landscapes, relationships with complex and persistent emotions; full experiences which carry over to the waking world and seem to have revealed an entire distinct life. What does my consciousness touch on in such experiences? Is there more to my mind’s capacity for creation than what I experience when awake? Or does my sleeping mind become more receptive to a deeper world, something real, not just the confluence of neurons and synapses but part of the greater universe? What courage Joseph must have had to act on his dreams.

 

16. Urban crows are fascinating creatures. They seem to be an excellent judge of human intent. If you are not paying much attention to them they will allow you to get very close. If you are in a car or if there is some other physical barrier they will also allow you to get very close. However, eye contact or any other form of attention will cause them to move away. Even if you are some distance, other types of attention like pointing a stick at them will cause them to fly off. A camera with a prominent lens will have a similar effect. The birds will let out a call and fly off. Sometimes one will stay closer and repeat a warning call to alert other crows to your presence. Good crow photos require patience and subterfuge. They are familiar with humans and are rightfully suspicious of us.

 

17. Palimpsestual autobiography - this one may actually outlive the participants.

 

18. The rituals of the dead are performed for the comfort of the living. Even the smallest of creatures may be enobled in our memories through the richness of their lives, their stoicism in suffering and their fierce resistance to death.