Jane the Baptist
I was surprised to find parking on the West Side. I didn’t need a permit, and I just had to move my car by Wednesday at 8am. I checked my email and followed the secret directions to a dark but tidy alley. Normally on a Friday night, my list of escapades wouldn’t include traipsing down a dark alley, but this alley led to Five Car Garage, a contemporary art gallery by appointment only.
Five Car Garage is just that – a garage of a beach-adjacent home, housing art and not cars (which is objectively a better use of a car garage). Emma Gray established this contemporary art gallery in 2013 in order to provide a project space for a small group of artists whom Emma mentors and advises.
Jesse Fleming is a Los Angeles based artist who is counted among an emerging group interested in the confluence of Media Art and Mindfulness. Fleming plays with perceived divisions between entities (self and other), and focuses on the exploration of consciousness.
Jane the Baptist is a transcendental voyage through the frothy, electric belly of Los Angeles County car washes. Car washes?
Yes, car washes. While the subject may be (intentionally) mundane, the art certainly is not. Jane the Baptist is an endless film of brightly colored car washes sewn together, so that upon exiting one car wash, you immediately find yourself in another. Methodical and systematic, Fleming’s technique is intentional and captivating. The radiant colors, music, and pace of the voyage through the car washes is mesmerizing, even to the most sober.
Naturally, I made jokes about Fleming taking friends’ cars for the recording stage of the project, since one car would be squeaky clean x 20. However, it’s the endless ‘clean cycle’ and lack of emergence from any of the car washes that’s so spellbinding. When I walked away, I recognized that the most gratifying portion of the exhibition became the most frustrating. Strewn on the ground on the lounge cushions were people as hypnotized as I was, but as soon as I left the drywall-enclosed garage (for this exhibition only) I realized that there wasn’t a satisfying ending to the film. Judging by the religious underpinnings of the exhibition’s name, perhaps this is a larger commentary on divisions between people and religious ideologies: no matter how clean you are, there is no promised land despite your external (or internal state).
Jesse Fleming’s Jane the Baptist
FIVE CAR GARAGE
By appointment only
[Hours: By appointment only]