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Opening Night: “Paramnesia” by Joram Roukes at Thinkspace Gallery

“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.

“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.

If we’re looking at Roukes’ notion of what is going to be said or happen next, we can only assume the worst. His figures appear to float in mid-air, where abstract shapes displace them from often disastrous surroundings. Others are displaced against white backdrops, contrasted against the gallery’s main wall painted black for the show. It highlights the fact that Roukes is painting contradicting themes; the strangeness of a dream combined with the sense it genuinely happened. Turn the corner into the gallery’s project room, and we find “Open Channels” by Nosego and “Emerge” by James Linkous. They ‘channel’ a different energy. Nosego’s animalistic imagery is both playful and powerful, while Linkous paints faces that appear to emerge out of water. None of the three ofter a linear definition, instead drawing attention to the layers of the imagination.

“Paramnesia” by Joram Roukes is on view at Thinkspace Gallery through August 9, 2014.

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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.
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