Jed Berk and Oliver McIrwin’s collaborative installation “Aquaculture,” at Aran Cravey Gallery, plays on the line between the organic and the synthetic, transforming the modest Abbot Kinney storefront into a lush, acrylic-based greenhouse of pointedly indeterminate phylum.
They clearly had some fun with it, and the fun is more or less contagious. A floating tangle of leaf-green helium balloons mysteriously rigged with PVC irrigation tubing; rubber fish, gorged with spray foam, that dangle in unholy anatomical harmony from the mouths of similarly gorged tennis shoes and galoshes; water troughs filled with mop heads, pile rugs and swaths of “cuddle shag fabric” that waft and wave in the ripping water like anemones in a tide pool — the best of the works are large, cheerfully bizarre concoctions that blithely set their own formal terms, overshadowing a handful of one-liners.
If the show has a higher purpose than fun — the ringing of environmental alarm bells, say — the effect is understated. The discomfiting fact remains, however, that the image of a fish gorged with spray foam is not so far removed from reality in many regions of the world’s oceans.
— Holly Myers
Aran Cravey Gallery, 1638 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 581-1144, through Sept. 9. Closed Monday and Tuesday. www.arancravey.com