The first solo show at Los Angeles’s Night Gallery by recent signee Hayley Barker, (Laguna Castle, 18 February-18 March), is a test run of a new programme that matches artists with small communities for temporary residencies.
Latitude for Art is a non-profit created by the artist Martin Cox and his husband, Thomas DeBoe. The couple has deep roots in Laguna Castle, an ‘intentional’ community of Modernist stucco apartments on Laguna Avenue in Echo Park. Cox became de facto manager of the complex after his close friend Isa-Kae Meksin, who had owned the building since the 1970s, died last June aged 94. Meksin instigated traditions of shared purchases, sliding-scale rental agreements, communal gardening and regular political gatherings.
In September, Barker began a residency in Meksin’s apartment, still full of books and art that reflect her devotion to leftist causes. A spiritual interpreter of nature, Barker paints from photos to create mystical translations. “I hope to honour the caretaking that they’ve put into the gardens,” Barker says. “I oftentimes feel like the plants that people tend are portraits of them.”
The artist plans to lead a private walkthrough at Night Gallery, where residents will be encouraged to share reflections on the work, which also features scenes beyond the apartment community, from her parents’ home in Oregon.