Last Saturday, Merry Karnowsky Gallery celebrated Andrew Hem (Hi-Fructose Vol. 21 cover artist) and Mel Kadel’s side-by-side solo exhibitions. “Dream but Don’t Sleep” by Andrew Hem is a dream-like culmination of his travels over the years. He places figures in re-imagined environments including the most private: the artist’s studio. Hem shared his inspirations with Hi-fructose: “I often want to paint artists that inspire me in their studio. This is one reason I try to only paint my friends — I want people to know about them. Even though none of my friends are in my paintings, they all inspire each piece. There’s a street artist, a printmaker, a realist, an abstractionist,” and so on. One of the artists portrayed is Michael Alvarez in the painting The Street Artist, and other notable inspirations are artists Anselm Kiefer and Alex Kanevsky.
“My favorite piece, Illegal Hit, was inspired by my friend Debaser. We were childhood friends and he got deported to Chile. It was rough for me that he had to leave,” said Hem. “Seven years later, I booked a flight to Chile and it was like we were young again with not a care in the world; doing graffiti, dancing and wandering the town. The scene is a place close to Santiago.” Hem mixes realism with his signature, imaginative view of the world — the stuff of dreams. Hem’s own studio is faithfully recreated in a gallery installation.
Showing alongside Andrew Hem is Mel Kadel’s exhibition, “Tied Up.” Where Hem chose to recreate private moments, Kadel wove a story that follows a central female character. Her ink on paper drawings interpret different emotional themes such as friendship, loneliness and loss in a dream-like state. In each image, the figure struggles with the strings that attach all of us to relationships. Andrew Hem and Mel Kadel exhibit at Merry Karnowsky gallery from March 1 through March 29, 2014.