Kenton Parker: “By Any Means Necessary”

at CES Gallery

Installation view featuring “A Room With A View,” 2015, Kenton Parker
Photo: courtesy CES Gallery

A lone shed built on site from reclaimed wood found in the Hollywood Hills with a slanted roof of palm fronds stands alone inside CES Gallery. In his first solo exhibition with CES Gallery, Los Angeles-based artist Kenton Parker brings the outdoors inside, reclaiming the gallery space as a site of meditation. A Room With A View (2015) is a shelter with a doorframe barely wide enough to fit through, yet possess the charm of a tree house as it is home to a plethora of objects and personal artifacts. Upon entering, we are met with a sign made of staples and nails that reads “Lost Found.” A row of tools lines the back wall-machetes, screwdrivers, painter’s tape, hammers, axes and saw blades. The very tools that built the “Room” are intrinsic to its decor. While seated in the single chair positioned on an angle, one discovers a pile of old, faded issues of National Geographic, trophies from teams sports awarded decades ago, handwritten notes adhered to the wood panels with a single thumb tack, and an assortment of flower seeds. Looking out through the window, onto a sea of green succulents, one can’t help but feel as though they have been transported. The humdrum of the city streets fades into the distance and the space becomes one of reflection and meditation. A Room With A View becomes a room of one’s own, a retreat from the noise and into the silence, a destination where that which is “lost” is later “found.”

Carved into rotting planks of plywood is the phrase “keep it real,” and that is precisely the approach implemented by Parker. The artist presents raw materials as evidence of the construction and physical demands required to create By Any Means Necessary (2015). Tubs of dried concrete, heavy-duty gloves, rags and sculpting tools are positioned on a table behind A Room With A View, intended to be seen. At the entrance of the gallery, we are met with an array of weights crafted from odds and ends such as a broomstick, pitchfork, pie tins, and Lucite to support weights made of pure concrete. The makeshift gym scheme points to Kenton’s determination to create recognizable objects from that which was once deemed “lost” into “found” symbols of masculinity and strength of both the physical and psychological kind.