Like the legendary Silicon Valley “garage,” Beta Space serves as an experimental laboratory for artists, collaborative ventures, and catalytic ideas. In this first installment of SJMA’s new exhibition series, artists Kevin Appel and Ruben Ochoa rethink our everyday experience of the built environment.
Inspired by the ubiquitous gray concrete of Los Angeles, Ochoa uses rebar, concrete, and other construction materials to investigate the boundaries that typically demarcate urban space, e.g. cement walls, sidewalks, and curbs. In his recent works, Ochoa mischievously subverts the rather brutal looking chain-link fences that are so prevalent in unassuming neighborhoods, construction sites, playgrounds, and prisons. His galvanized fence posts sprout from hulking mounds of concrete, poised precariously on dainty feet, as if uprooted from the urban jungle. In a new work commissioned by SJMA for Beta Space, visitors will navigate Ochoa’s alternative terrain of unfettered fences and footings.
Kevin Appel belongs to a generation of Los Angeles artists who mine the city's rich legacy of modernist residential architecture. Since the late 1990s, Appel has meticulously painted imagined domestic interiors and dwellings that have deteriorated from the modernist ideal into a pile of debris: the aftermath of a domestic and ideological upheaval. Most recently, he has been painting the basic forms of architecture over images found in nature magazines to create hypothetical interventions in the landscape, such as a geodesic dome set in an uninhabited woodland. For Beta Space, Appel is creating a large-scale architectural screen and other new works. By disrupting our assumptions about architecture and urban infrastructure, Ochoa and Appel similarly make viewers aware of the powerful associations therein.
Beta Space Catalogue
The catalogue for Beta Space: Kevin Appel and Ruben Ochoa by Kristen Evangelista, associate curator, is available exclusively as a print-on-demand paperback from lulu.com. 42 pages, full color, $18. Click here to order your copy.