Last-look: Tree House Down

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Rewind to 2010, to the site of a former artist collaboration conceived to inaugurate the walls of the then ‘new’ Ibid. space in East London. A homage to Yves Klein created in tandem with Harold Ancart, Amir Mogharabi presented Material Perdu, a project built utilizing materials left on-site from the building’s previous tenants to construct an experiential series of encounters and settings.

Fast-forward five years later to 2015. We once again meet Mogharabi dismantling architectures and disrupting structures to forge amorphous planes of perspective. This time, nestled within the raw beams of Ibid.’s inaugural Downtown Los Angeles HQ as part of Tree House Down, the final exhibit to animate 675 S. Santa Fe Avenue.

Shiny, porous enamel bleeds onto the concrete floor, canvases puncture walls, spill onto each other and hybridize into one as we navigate the dynamics of an ever-evolving room. Dwarfed by the iridescence of Mogharabi’s pigments and their colossal physicality— each piece entitled with an Untitled prefix ending with (towards a larger connection)— I wonder if the hurried coatings of a young man to hide the wall’s subtle white discrepancies is apart of this routine. An enigmatic force, Mogharabi constantly considers other forms of communication to provoke onlooker participation… so I stand a moment hoping this isn’t performance art. I’m quickly relieved learning this repainting is an ongoing recurrence here, as the placement of work has been adjusted and moved throughout the show’s duration. All of this in preparation for the final re-installment and staging for the last few days of viewing.  All of this, too, perhaps enhances Mogharabi’s ongoing practice investigating the process of creation. At the same time, I wonder if erasing these subtle flaws accentuates or hazes the evocation of spatial ambiguity and cyclical time— themes ultimately joining Moghrabi’s site-specific realization to the eclectic artist roster housed within the adjacent gallery.

As in Mogharabi’s temporal environment, the infrastructure of both rooms is dismantled and melded into a material conduit for interaction. The impending destruction of the 1908 building is cleverly cinched through drywall cut-outs as in Christopher Orr’s The Haunted Ebb or Emanuel Röhss’ Archical Intersect, where the bones of Ibid.’s back storage room and the pliability of a thinly layered armature, lay bare. Deconstructing the gallery’s facade is further highlighted through inlet halos off-setting works from Sebastian Lloyd Rees and Michael Portnoy, where images float flat within recessed cut-aways. ‘What is the Kale of 2034?’ asks Portnoy’s Kalochrome 4A. The question of what the back story of the future is pervades these punctured walls.

Gazing into the lustrous reflection of Lauren Elder’s Orange Bell on a Pale Cloud, horizons appear to converge through mirrored windows hung parallel and perpendicular to our point of view. We see pictures within pictures, we see ourselves seeing; aware of a shifting, controlled chaos echoed as we move through the invisible reconstructions of Mogharabi’s labyrinth. An impending end creeps near as we engage within the drawn outlines of this augmented structure. An etched possibility realized in the fortress of a former auto body shop, Ibid.’s unexpected relocation is in many ways a precursor for the metamorphosis to flood a neighboring vicinity— the perfect tale of an art gallery: an outpost promoting creative cultivation and stirring market interest only to attract demolition as the inevitable forces of gentrification move-in to stack high-rises atop imagined forests.

Currently Ibid. is set to relocate to a yet-to-be disclosed Downtown HQ following the closing of Tree House Down this Saturday, September 26th. Open Tuesday-Saturday 12-7pm. In the interim, find Ibid. off PCH in Malibu at Temporary Contemporary, an exhibition program organized with Ghebaly Gallery, Night Gallery, M+B, Harmony Murphy, Phil Gallery, Please Do Not Enter, RTM Projects, and Zebulon. The month long iteration culminates with a special closing event Sunday, October 4th. Open Friday-Sunday 12-6pm. All photos © Ibid.
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