Throughout art history, artists have been giving us their interpretation of the world as only they can see it. “Parallel Universe” which opened at Merry Karnowsky gallery last Saturday, presented this idea to a select group of artists- Seonna Hong, Nathan Ota, Travis Louie, Caleb Brown, DevNgosha, Hell’o Monsters and Sashie Masakatsu. Are these the images of an alternate reality or just what the rest of us can’t see? Quirky, outlandish, beautiful, surreal, imaginative and a little disturbing are all words that describe their combined definition of a ‘parallel universe’.
Seonna Hong with her work on opening night.
Each artist carefully employs their signature elements of design into this concept. As a take on alternate realities, there’s DevNgosha’s abstract illustration that incorporates Japanese comics, while Sashie offers a spacey “death star” hovering over a post-apocalyptic landfill that recalls his 2013 show, “Coacervate”. Others seem to take us to another dimension altogether. Caleb Brown gives us flying great white sharks on the attack (think Sharknado) and Seonna Hong transports us to cool lunar-esque landscapes. Her little girl subjects wander around mountains of thick paint that looks like cake icing. In all of these examples, there is a juxtaposition of detailed subjects that are vaguely familiar yet out of place in their strange surroundings. Through this dual combination of what is real and what is fantasy, the viewer is left to think about his or her own existence.
“Parallel Universe” Group Show, alongside “Monad” by Lezley Saar in the square gallery, is now on view at Merry Karnowsky Gallery through October 4th.
Nathan Ota with his work on opening night.