Opening Night: Nouar and Hikari Shimoda at CHG Circa

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

Eerily cheery and cheerily eerie, Nouar’s resin-dipped mixed-media works debuted at her solo show “Satisfaction Guaranteed” at CHG Circa in Culver City on July 19. Her confectionary work — somewhere between painting and sculpture, two-dimensional and three-dimensional — was paired with Hikari Shimoda’s (HF Vol. 29) equally vivid, candy-colored series of paintings in her concurrent show “Fantastic Planet, Goodbye Man” opening on the same night.

Nouar doesn’t shy away from kitsch, harkening back to a time when mass production was a novelty and a wealth of consumer goods was beginning to roll out on the assembly lines of Post-War America. Just as the newly moneyed citizens relished their freshly built suburban communities and the modern conveniences that came along with them, they indulged in the arrays of canned foods, multi-colored Jell-Os and TV dinners that became readily available during the mid-20th century.

Nouar’s work takes inspiration from the artificially-flavored foods created during this dawn of widespread consumer culture. Her cartoonish characters smile widely, grimacing so much that their faces become mask-like. Beneath their happy veneers, Nouar inserts unsettling details that make one do a double take — like the drowning pin-up girl inside a jolly gummy bear’s belly in one piece. Though her critique of consumerism is not made explicit, one gets the sense that the factory-made way of life she alludes to feels very contrived and may crack open at any moment.

Hikari Shimoda’s “Fantastic Planet, Goodbye Man” is a pastel-hued series of paintings where violent and disturbing elements are drowned out by lilac sparkles and pink bunnies (view our recent studio visit with the artist here). Though Shimoda takes inspiration from Anime, her work is painted with a loose expressiveness that adds a painterly quality to her fantastical visions. For this show, Shimoda nods to superhero tales to comment on the ways adults instill their hopes and dreams into children, whom she often depicts with flesh-wounds and scars to imply their loss of innocence.

Nouar’s “Satisfaction Guaranteed” and Hikari Shimoda’s “Fantastic Planet, Goodbye Man” are both on view through August 23 at CHG Circa in Culver City.

Nouar with her work at the opening night of “Satisfaction Guaranteed.”

Hikari Shimoda with her work at the opening reception of “Fantastic Planet, Goodbye Man.”

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