Mindful Parking: 5 Car Garage
5 Car Garage Has Spots for Spatial and the Spiritual
5 Car Garage is located in an alleyway in a residential neighborhood in Santa Monica. While it is not far from Bergamot Station, visitors to 5 Car Garage make the trek because the experience is homey and friendly, and the art on view is often engaging in unexpected ways. The gallery space is a transformed five-car garage with ample light flowing in from the alley when the garage doors are rolled up, and when the doors are down the space is perfect for projections.
5 Car Garage opened in 2013 and is owned by the well-informed and exuberant Emma Gray who always makes visitors feel welcome in the space. While the artists she represents include Alison Blickle, Megan Daalder, David McDonald, Jesse Fleming, Kyla Hansen, L, Max Maslansky and Jennifer Sullivan, her exhibition program is not bound by their particular aesthetics. One of the things that sets 5 Car Garage apart is Gray’s interests in the empowering of women and the relationship between art and mindfulness. Exhibitions are often coupled with meditations or events that extend from the spiritual nature of the work. This is the case with Alison Blickle, who hosted two plant meditations in conjunction with her exhibition of paintings, The Three Fates, last summer.
Though figurative painting reigns among the exhibited artists, one never knows what one might encounter at 5 Car Garage. Often the space is transformed and audiences transported as in Pascual Sisto’s immersive installation, Inside Out, (2018), a 20-minute symphony of sound, lights and video that explores cyborgs, AI and the relationship between digital and analogue worlds. Similarly ∞999777555333111222444666888∞, a work by L + A.S.T.R.A.L.O.R.A.C.L.E.S (Jan. 11–Mar. 13, 2019) converted 5 Car Garage into a colorful space for gatherings and meditations. While L and Sisto’s installations were time-based and experiential, many of the exhibitions at 5 Car Garage are infused with a subtle quietness. The coupling of Lies Kraal and Anabel Juarez in Lente/Primavera, (May 12–June 20, 2019) created a dialogue about color, shape and form as Kraal’s monochrome paintings were juxtaposed with Juarez’s small ceramic sculptures. David McDonald’s exhibition Common Knowledge (Mar, 24–May 7, 2018) included watercolor as well as small and large-scale sculptures that explored the possibilities of disparate everyday materials. McDonald’s Zen approach to art-making fits perfectly within 5 Car Garage’s conceptual agenda. My first experience of 5 Car Garage was a 2014 exhibition by John Knuth titled Base Alchemy. Here, Knuth’s fly-process paintings and burnt-mylar works were on view— a compelling installation made with non-traditional materials (fly shit).
5 Car Garage is a small space that consistently puts on thought-provoking group and solo exhibitions in a diverse array of media. Here the unexpected is expected and each visit is a rewarding surprise.