With wildly varied takes on the natural world, painters Josh Keyes and Lisa Ericson bring two separate shows to Thinkspace Projects in Culver City. Keyes was last mentioned on HiFructose.com here, and Ericson was last mentioned on the site here.
Jos. A Smith’s dreamlike paintings move between elegance and cacophony. His horse-riders, specifically, carry a quality have a surreal, yet granular quality that invites close inspection. Part of the artist’s work his rooted in his practice of “of trance techniques learned from the Nyngmapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, research psychologists, anthropologists, and shamans with my own dream records to make that membrane between my waking state and my unconscious more permeable.”
In a new show at Copro Gallery in Santa Monica, Chet Zar revisits the classic baddies of pop culture with the show “Villains.” Just as he does in his art, the artist is able to tether his fascination with the dark and dystopic to art history. “I am interested in the villain archetype as a subject matter,” Zar tells us. “I always have been fascinated by them and I thought it would be fun to do my own take on some. Every great story has a great villain. They are just as important as the heroes. In fact, they create the opportunity for heroes. But more to the point, I just think villains are more interesting and fun to think about. I mean, which part of the Bosch’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ triptych do people talk about? ‘The Garden of Eden’ or ‘The Last Judgement’? I think it’s at the core of what Dark Art is all about- dark imagery is just more fun and interesting to explore.”
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.
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.
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.