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Ken Flewellyn’s Oil Paints Blend Cultures, Icons

Ken Flewellyn, a California-based artist, creates intimate clashes of culture in his oil paintings. Mostly depicting anonymous women in his works, his figures “challenge our assumptions about identity and cultural homogeneity.” The works are packed with hip-hop references and flourishes of historical Japanese culture.

Ken Flewellyn, a California-based artist, creates intimate clashes of culture in his oil paintings. Mostly depicting anonymous women in his works, his figures “challenge our assumptions about identity and cultural homogeneity.” The works are packed with hip-hop references and flourishes of historical Japanese culture.

“Borrowing motifs and inspiration from Japanese culture and aesthetics, a visual influence in his home since childhood, Flewellyn often depicts women in traditional Japanese garb, silks, and kimonos,” a statement says. “The subjects, however, remain anonymous, visible only by hands, body, and gestures, seldom, if ever, are faces or individuals revealed in their entirety. The subject’s identity, as a result, is relayed by the presence of revelatory objects, tattoos, and accessories – external clues that point to something beyond the seen and allow for the aesthetic to prevail over individuation or the distraction of specificity. That being said, however, Flewellyn depicts real women based on actual people – friends, and strangers – anchoring his imagery in reality rather than unrealistic idealizations.”

His paintings are part of a new show at Thinkspace Gallery, titled “Stay Gold,” which starts Aug. 5. “Stay Gold” occupies the gallery through Aug. 26.

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