Rachel Yezbick, Cover Me at Garden
through May 5th
by Lara Salmon
In a window-lined room, which sits atop an olive-green Victorian in Silverlake, lies a unique gallery space in Los Angeles. The visibility of the neighborhood from this room makes it feel like a watchtower, or possibly a greenhouse as it drowns in Southern California’s afternoon rays. Garden, which is run by Britte Geijer and Zachary Korol-Gold, has been hosting shows since 2016. As with many up-and-coming spaces in LA it has the characteristics of creative enthusiasts finding a way to show emerging artists. It has an air of novelty and excitement—a location in the art world that is blooming with possibility.
To make the most of a space like Garden an artist should engage with its locale and aesthetic. This is exactly what Rachel Yezbick does in her current solo show, Cover Me. In the main fortress-like room of the gallery plays a video Yezbick made centered upon a conversation between her and Dale Brown. Brown, who owns and runs a private security firm in the Detroit neighborhood where she grew up, is taking her on a typical patrol ride in his hummer. The video of their meandering conversation is spliced with inserted footage—some found and some digitally created. These dream-like elaborations to their dialogue address issues such as the purpose of security and the function of fear. The 45-minute video is played from a screen encased in mirrors that reflect the outside world through the windows. Seeing themselves in the mirrors, viewers remember that as they watch this video someone may be watching them. It alludes to the constant eye of the state in an America that may be more controlled than we realize.
During the opening of the show Yezbick could be found downstairs doing a performance in which she ate a blue, chocolate bust of her head. While she nibbled away at this 3D-printed object, another performer was seated on the couch recording observations of the gallery visitors on a laptop. These words were projected live onto a neighbor’s house for everyone to see. Simultaneously text was also projected from the crime and safety section of NextDoor, a location specific app for people to connect over neighborhood activities.
Yezbick’s show makes viewers feel the unease of being monitored, watched, and followed. The sense of privacy, invasion is amplified by the fact that the gallery is in a house. Visitors become intruders into someone’s living space, sitting in their living room and using their bathroom. And yet, at the same time, visitors are subject to having their own actions recorded.
Yezbick uses cutting edge and state-associated technologies as a source for curiosity and mistrust. She relates them to herself, exploring her own physical body. Next to the 3D print of her head is a self-portrait she made through the technique of photogrammery (a process in which surface points to a photograph are used to calculate measurements). In the publication that accompanies the show, Yezbick writes that she has recently dreamt in VR. With such an investigative and introspective process it is anyone’s wonder what she will do next.
Rachel Yezbick’s show Cover Me is on view at Garden until May 5, 2018.
Gallery hours are Saturday 11-2, or by appointment.
The artist will have another performance in the space on April 22 at 1 pm.