Brody Albert and Kaeleen Wescoat-O’Neill: OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
I had nearly just touched the red gate to open it, when Chris jumped out from behind the wall to tell me it’s not to be touched no matter how inviting it may seem. We talked to one another from opposite ends through the matching collapsible gates, an empty space between us. Not knowing if I was going to be invited to his side of the gallery or if this was it, I began to think about my parking situation from earlier.
I wonder if I have a ticket right now. I didn’t think I needed a permit during the day as long as I moved my car before two. I’m pretty sure I had two hours; or is that still only if I have a permit? Does it mean something different because that part of the sign was green? The car in front of mine didn’t have a permit in its window, but did that sticker on its back bumper mean anything? They had obviously been parked there awhile, so I think I’m good for at least another hour. But what if we both get tickets? Wait, is it Wednesday?
What happens when the part that unites two sides is removed, when the middle is taken away? I often only eat the center of bread, leaving the crust. I’m not much into the head or tail of a fish, and most anyone would choose the window or aisle seat while flying on a plane. The middle child is passed over. The center of the week feels daunting. Intermission in a concert can be a good or bad thing depending on the size of your bladder or the brilliance of the performance. In a three way, someone almost always gets left out. Accidents and traffic jams are purgatory, and parking is hell.
When the part that unites is removed, or the bridge between front and back is obstructed, alternate routes must be navigated and traversed, often leading us through unfamiliar territory. In the case of Brody Albert and Kaeleen Wescoat-O’Neill’s exhibition Open To The Public at Vacancy, we go around: back out the front door through the opened collapsible gate and to the left onto James M Wood Blvd. Walk past Martin Plumbing Supply Co and at the corner of Hoover take another left and continue. You can observe the Su Casa White security bars along the buildings exterior windows, and the two manhole covers on the sidewalk. You’ll head to the end of the brick red building until you reach the black gate that leads into the back parking lot. Walk over the marked blue handicap space, the neighbor’s stairway will be to your left, above you, and the trash bin will be far to your right. You’ll see three steps with a white hand rail in front of you; walk up them and into the little hallway and through the black glittering door. When you enter into the back of the space, you’ll then be on the opposite end of the other red collapsible gate where you can look through and see where you started from.
The gates’ impediment to the space do not hinder its beauty; built from stained MDF, they are delicate in materiality yet stand as stout obstructions, an overall satisfying example of craftsmanship and mimicry without mockery. Knowing the materials’ frailty, entices me and I have to resist my urge to open them. If I chose to be defiant I would take care to preserve them, be gentle and keep them aligned and straight; any hiccup during separation could be detrimental to their overall structure. Compared to their durable, albeit wobbly metal counterparts that exist in front of the building and throughout Los Angeles; stuttering about, falling in and out of alignment, these sculptures remain plumb; faux metal, but utilitarian, even without lock and key, creating a tank of emptiness where we view nothing except where we are not.
Nobody likes to be turned away. Even in a time of crisis when we are told we cannot enter or go in a particular direction, it feels like something has been taken from us. Just go that way, but what is that way? Is there trouble ahead? Has the ground fallen down into oblivion and the area is completely impassable? Is this a film set or did something really happen? Detours are common practice in L.A., it’s important to be adaptable and have backup plans. You plan your day around making an entrance only to arrive to the location being closed. You walk to the store, only to find yourself blocked by yellow tape and flashing lights. You go to post a funny image of your cat online only to see there was a shooting and over 100 people are dead in Paris or Kenya. The middle, whether it be physical or mental is the place one must cross through and decide upon constantly. We live in liminal spaces, even when doing nothing we are between two somethings. Here and there, life and death, two collapsible gates.
Open To The Public closes November 28th at Vacancy. Gallery Hours Saturday 12-5pm or by appt
The two-person exhibition features work by Brody Albert and Kaeleen Wescoat-O’Neill, and is the second of five formulations encompassing an eight-month study in artist couples.
2524 1/2 James M. Wood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90006
For more of Brody and Kaeleen’s work visit their sites!
Images courtesy of the Gallery