“The Third Floor”
2600 La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA.
November 9, 2013 – January 11, 2014
Entering the Francois Ghebaly Gallery in L.A.’s industrial, Culver City to see LA-based artist, Patrick Jackson’s solo exhibition, “The Third Floor”, one is immediately met with an awkward silence. Of course most galleries are rather quiet, but the lack of any front desk, attendant, or anything at all in the space that is not clearly part of Jackson’s all encompassing installation, including the plush, white carpeted floor, creates a truly dislocated bubble effect that is all too rarely felt in most gallery exhibitions these days.
Inside the white walled and carpeted gallery, viewers encounter a black box on the floor to the left that appears to be folding in on itself where a cut-out has been made in its center. To the right, a gaping hole with carpeted steps leading downwards to a most intriguing scaffold under-layer. Carefully hunching over so as not to bump one’s head, the allure of what lays under the gallery draws one further away from a typical spin around the room, allowing imaginations to run wild. Downstairs metal pipes run vertically, horizontally and diagonally making the space somewhat of an impossible maze, and the carpet — a dingy dark brown-grey that resembles coffee grounds – is littered in bunches with detailed and colorful ceramic vessels, some resembling far more than others over-sized, funky coffee mugs. On closer, crouched inspection, each ceramic container is filled inside with different materials. Many don budding crystals painted bright blue or a slimy green, another “cup” whose interior is painted with squiggly, eye-ball tadpoles, is filled with black painted fingers covered in tiny bugs. The starkness and bright white backdrop of the upstairs is totally forgotten as one weaves their body through the scaffolding to find new hidden treasures within each ceramic cup or vase.
Creeping back up the stairs and again through the white room, it becomes more evident that a third level of the gallery exists, and something undeterminable lurks above. Out the front door and up a set of stairs to the right, one finds the office and people that had been so unusually absent in the main gallery on the ground floor. Just beyond the office, a figure in all black stands dead still. It is very difficult to tell at first if suddenly a performative element has been added to the equation, or if in fact it is yet another level, in more ways than one, of Jackson’s sculpture. In fact, the black sculpture is very life-like, but not actually alive. Rather, its common black sweatshirt, jeans and short hair make it almost totally believable from the back, and its unnerving carved out eye sockets make it admittedly rather startling if not altogether sinister, when viewed from its front. Interestingly, it is only at this point that the entire vision for this installation can be seen and understood.
Here a “person,” whose gender is well kept ambiguous, is soaked in all black, clothes, hair, skin, yet whose eyes are merely holes through which a white background shines. It is this odd character who seems somehow to be the ringmaster, peering out over the odd black and white world stuck in perfect stillness below, and all those confused visitors that enter. Through the late introduction of this figure, the larger picture, so to speak, seems to finally appear, and an Alice in Wonderland-like story seems to take shape. Here a darkened, rather anonymous looking person gazes down on an environment that seems to be of their own making or perhaps simply an extension of their own mind, consisting of the light above and the little hidden oddities hiding just below the clean white surface.
“The Third Floor” is on view through January 11th, 2014.
For more information visit Francois Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles.
-Contributed by Courtney Malick
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