by Andy SmithPosted on


Mark Ryden
(Mixed media on paper, 13.5” x 10.75”)

Even outside of its varieties and many uses, the mushroom is a complicated, little fungus. Depicted by the artists of “Hi-Fructose Presents: The Art of the Mushroom,” coming to The Compound Gallery this month, it’s a prism of perspectives: fantastical or recreational, sexual or familial. The gallery describes this show as “an exploration into artists’ interpretations of the friendly, deadly, tasty, hallucinogenic, phallic, alien, and legendary mushroom.” Here are just a few of the pieces featured in the show, with a roster of 50-plus artists.

by Andy SmithPosted on

Crafted in Chinese ink and mineral pigment on silk, Shoichi Okumura‘s gorgeous compositions blend figurative and floral elements. After moving to Tokyo with his parents, Beijing-born painter would garnered global in his studies. Today, the artist’s received multiple awards for his absorbing, large-scale pieces.

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The mixed-media paintings of Betsy Walton carry surreal, vibrant scenes, with characters that meld into each other and their natural backdrops. A current body of work, titled “Psychic Landscapes,” gathers new views into her dreamlike worlds.

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Though undetectable from afar, Bryan Valenzuela‘s drawn forms are actually crafted from thousands of small letters and words. These collections of words are a script tailored to each work, whether on the page or adorning a public wall. The artist also works in textiles, acrylic paint, and collage into his practice.

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Fernando Rosas conjures surreal figures out of wood and other natural materials, faces and forms packed with drama emerging. Using varying types of wood with clay and metal adds to the disconcerting nature to the works, their anguish and peril seemingly organic in nature.

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Alexander Churchill’s riveting paintings are brimming with color, each strange scene accented by pouring hues. In “Absurdist Futility” series, in particular, offers an absorbing collection of narratives and uncomfortably close portraits.