The terrain in Los Angeles based artist Andrew Hem’s paintings is a culmination of his imaginative view of the world. There are completely foreign and yet vaguely familiar lush and urban landscapes filled with dancing, floating, and wandering figures. You could describe them as meditative, and Hem admits that most of his images come to him when he is alone with his thoughts, sometimes while driving or traveling. We first featured Hem’s works in and on the cover of Hi-Fructose Vol. 21, at a time when his subjects began to exhibit animalistic and ethereal qualities. He embraces the other-worldy qualities of his work in his current exhibition at KP Projects/MKG in Los Angeles, “Unknown Terrain.” Hem’s subjects appear transfixed in time and space at the top of snowy peaks, in warm campsites, walking alone through jungles, both lush and concrete. While the places they wander are grand, there is a certain sadness as Hem hints at man’s inevitable demise and decay. In his show statement, Hem shares his personal goal of painting the Seven Wonders of the World by the time he is thirty years old. Here, he portrays sites like the Grand Canyon and Mount Everest, recreating the experience of seeing them as an emotional one, rather than capturing their physical reality. Although these are famous places, many of them are out of reach or facing the threats of industry, becoming “unknown” to future generations.
“Unknown Terrain” by Andrew Hem is now on view at KP Projects/MKG in Los Angeles through November 7th, in conjunction with Nathan Ota’s “Four Corners.”