Monday, November 8, 2010

In The Hall of Pure Intimacy: Charles Long and Justin Beal at Night Gallery

The use of space is an interesting topic in Los Angeles. Many artists hone the city's vast free space with their ability to get lost and go unnoticed. Others question the use of space for better relationships with nature and the environment of a car driven city. I'm most interested in the use of space and these seemingly characters it creates-- galleries in unusual spaces.

I talk about space because I find it fascinating that in Los Angeles certain galleries have found creative use of space, not to mention location. Night gallery is one of those spaces that has found that wave of in depth creativity, by opening a gallery in a Lincoln Heights strip mall. What used to be a party supply store now caters to artists and serves as an art gallery. However, Night Gallery is not the only space to follow these steps but neighboring Workspace Gallery, run by artists Paul Pescador and Daniel Ingroff, was the first to create this use of space in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood.-- (form follows function).

Night Gallery was a name I heard quite often, a visit had long been over due. To spark my curiosity artist Alex Staiger invited me to tag along one Tuesday night. It was a school night, past ten pm, I had homework to be completed, and had to wake up early the next morning, but this was my opportunity, to finally fully embrace Night Gallery.

Literally, in simplest form Night gallery is only open at night, with black colored walls that shake off the florescent lighting coming from a small room in the further back right corner of the space.

On this particular night artists Charles Long and Justin Beal took Night Gallery hostage for the opening of, In The Hall of Pure Intimacy. A crowd swarmed the parking lot, while inside, one was forced to make eye contact with one another in hopes to avoid heads to bump.

Charles Long
Charles Long

Charles Long, a current professor at The University of Riverside and represented by Shoshana Wayne Gallery in Santa Monica displayed the painting above. After moving from New York City, Long was quickly intrigued by the running industrial river we call, the Los Angeles river or the LA River for short. A river that plays a huge roll in our city, from humorous banter in it's usage of location to a landscape far too unfamiliar to those who were not raised in this city. Long's recent works, as already noted, retain inspiration from the Los Angeles River, through the collection of the river's debris-- Later, to be transformed into works.

An uncanny, nostalgic, relationship of the physical and the metaphysical resonates in Long's work. A reality or mirage we can all relate to.

Justin Beal
Justin Beal

Justin Beal's sculpture in the other hand, blows an air of a dark Warhol. We can simplify Beal's work, or rather categorize it within the conceptualist bubble. One with consumerism (?), one that gets old, but retains it's shine. Don't get me wrong!, I'm a fan of Beal's work, as I find the boundaries he pushes rather humorous-- when installed for a public/spectator.

Several individuals are doing an amazing job and I often find those individuals are small galleries. Perhaps it's the hype of the new kid on the block, but I venture that's not the case. Innovative ideas at small scale entities have a stronger backbone of self creativity than those working towards commercialist driven goals. I found that strong backbone at Night Gallery, I've found that in Chinatown and I yet have to explore other corners of Los Angels to better understand the comical ways of a freeway bound city.

That being covered, Tuesday nights are usually for new openings. As I hear, every other day, a crowd may show up and it's a party, or no one will show up, but it's still where you want to be in Los Angeles!.

Night Gallery
Tuesday- Thursday: 10pm - 2am
204 south, Avenue 19
646 717 4925

1 comment:

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