“Their world was soft like melancholy. The conversation was silent. Their faces were small and round, incapable of invoking fear. Once the door was open, nothing could be unseen.” This is how Kathie Olivas describes the childlike subjects of her latest exhibition at AFA gallery, “Safe from Tomorrow”. The show boasts a series of 20 new paintings and 16 sculptures inspired by early Americana portraiture. The nostalgia felt by her palette and inspiration is constrasted with a concept set in the future.
Soey Milk has seen a lot of creative and personal growth in the past year- she tackles life with the same focus as her precisely detailed, figurative paintings. When we last caught up with her, she was still a student at Pasadena Art Center and experimenting with a new style that incorporates colorful drapery. Recently graduated, her upcoming show at CHG Circa on December 13th showcases the result of her progress. Appropriately, the exhibition title “SINAVRO” loosely translates from Korean to “To progress slowly, almost imperceptibly.” Her identity as a young woman living between two cultures, Korean and American, is represented in her intermixing styles.
New Jersey-based artist Nancy Depew’s depictions of nature are luxurious and manicured. Her oil paintings combine traditional elements of portraiture, still life and landscape, fusing these genres into harmonious compositions filled with eye candy. Her most recent figure painting series features women reclining into beds of fresh flowers, comfortably resting their heads and bodies on their soft petals as if finding relief at long last. Though Depew’s paintings prioritize craftsmanship (nearly every detail appears to be rendered with a sharp focus), she says that her process is a gestural and intuitive exploration of the figure.
Polish painter Ewa Juszkiewicz subverts canonical portraiture by playing with viewers’ expectations. Poised damsels that evoke Renaissance-era nobility stand with their hands clasped and their faces replaced by oyster mushrooms, cockroaches and shrubbery. It’s as if in spite of all the pains these ladies have taken to appear proper and civilized, nature has reasserted its dominion. Juzkiewicz is specifically interested in portraits of women and uses her work to study the ways women have been presented over the course of European history.
This Saturday, Merry Karnowsky gallery will present three side by side solo shows by Los Angeles based artists Mercedes Helnwein, Kim Kimbro, and Vonn Sumner. Together, their new works are elaborate and psychologically intense, depicting dream like moments. Read more about their respective shows, “Mama Said Amen”, “The Queen of Calvary”, and “Gravity and Other Lies” after the jump.
Setting soft and supple nudes against graphic patterns and textures, Brooklyn-based painter Sharon Sprung utilizes the tension between abstraction and realism to appease her own inner dichotomies and create art that expresses emotional complexities. But unlike many artists who muddle the polarities of figuration and abstraction into ambiguity, Sprung leaves them distinct, engendering a contrast that intensifies the impact of each.