Closing this weekend at Known Gallery is New Zealand based artist Askew One’s (featured here) vibrant solo show, “Diaspora”. The show brings his unique pop art portraits to Los Angeles for the first time. Askew One’s creative background is a vigorous one, from music video directing, editing, to moving images. Even his street tags exhibit confidence and movement. His plexiglass paintings bring this same energy to the face, together with cultural designs specific to his subject. The exhibition’s title, “Diaspora”, refers to the ‘dispersion’ or movement of a population of people. As a whole, the show recalls pop artists like Basquiat and Andy Warhol, who idolized his models in series of colorful portraits. Askew One chose Stelly to be the star of his portrait series who is of Fijian descent. Stelly appears in a variety of traditional costume in strong, bold colors, alluding to the strength of Pacific communities over time. On the opposite wall is a collection of abstract circular pieces mirroring the patterns in Stelly’s clothes. Known’s smaller back gallery is also exhibiting “Kneecaps” by another New Zealand based artist Elliot Francis Stewart. His show interprets Aukland everyday life, of which he is not a fan, apparent in comical scenes that recall the artist’s memories. Despite this, his humorous illustrations are a second take on the portrait of a culture.
“Diaspora” by Askew One at Known Gallery is now on view until May 3, 2014.
Elliot Francis Stewart: