Netherlands based Joram Roukes and Los Angeles based Joanne Nam are two artists who look to nature for their inspiration, but in strikingly different ways. Previously featured on our blog, Joram Roukes’s inspiration generally comes from elements of animals, which he combines with his everyday experiences in a collage-like way. Joanne Nam, whom we featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 29, however looks at it through the filter of her childhood, spent growing up near forests. They each debuted a new series at Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles last Saturday night, Roukes with “American Ornithology, and Nam with “Hiatus”.
Joram Roukes’ collage-like oil paintings, with their floating figures and colorful washes, appear dreamy, but his greatest inspiration has always been based in reality. In “The Great Beyond,” his new solo exhibition currently on view at Stolenspace Gallery in London, he sets out to escape it. Roukes has recently experienced a sort of escape himself, when he relocated from the Netherlands to Los Angeles. This time last year, he held his first show as an Angeleno, “Paramnesia” (covered here), which summed up that experience visually. Now with a wider sense of exploration, Roukes continues to draw upon his life experiences.
“Paramnesia”, like déjà vu, refers to a supernatural phenomenon in which dreams or fantasies are confused with reality. Joram Roukes explores this concept with his exhibition of the same name, which opened last weekend at Thinkspace Gallery. Previously, Roukes’ work centered on reflections of daily life experiences reassembled in surreal, painterly scenes. For the past six months, he collected new experiences while working in Los Angeles. The result is slightly schizophrenic. Throughout, exotic animals erupt from anonymous figures performing a variety of city professions. In a way, it recalls Craola’s use of anthromorphic characters to personify dreams (covered here), only Roukes’ are sourced from a place more terrifying- reality.
Just as Dutch painter Joram Roukes moves freely between precise, anatomically-correct figure painting and messy expressionism, his work injects allusions to contemporary society with heavy doses of dreamlike images. We might find a character in a familiar Lakers jersey, except for his hand invitingly holds out a dead fish and his face is a polka-dotted skull. It is precisely this type of fluidity between lived and imagined experience that Roukes aims to tap into with his July 19 solo show at Thinkspace in Culver City, “Paramnesia.” Its title is derived from the term for a condition in which a person confuses reality and fantasy, something most of us have experienced to an extent with cases of déjà vu. Roukes has been living and working in LA as he prepares for his show. Take a look at some photos and a video documenting his work process below.