Travis Louie’s paintings begin as detailed graphite drawings that, with layers of clear acrylic, evolve into imitations of Victorian-era photographs with surreal subjects. For his current solo show at Merry Karnowsky Gallery in LA, “Strange Discoveries,” Louie was inspired by the once-popular belief that photography was an infallible documentary device. In the Victorian era, early photography was fundamental to capturing new species discovered by explorers of the new world. Louie plays with this notion in his new work, rendering fantastical creatures with a realist precision.
“These paintings are dedicated to my father who passed away in April,” said Louie in an email to Hi-Fructose. “He was a dreamer who never got to fulfill his dreams. He made it possible for me to work on mine and for that I am eternally thankful.” “Strange Discoveries” will be on view through December 7. Take a look at some work from the show below.