The New Contemporary Art Magazine

Author: Stephanie Chefas

A special kind of magic was in the air last Thursday night at the Skirball Cultural Center, when pop-surrealist legend Gary Baseman unveiled his highly anticipated retrospective "The Door is Always Open." Smiling ear to ear, Basemen welcomed guests into a novel gallery setting that captures both the essence of his work and the charm of the his upbringing in the heart of Los Angeles' Fairfax District. Modeled after Baseman's childhood home, each room centered around a specific theme and brimmed with an exciting mix of Baseman's artwork and personal mementos. The retrospective provides insight into the artist's Jewish heritage and the pop culture era of Baseman's youth — both of which were instrumental in nurturing his artistic voice. Read more and check out our exclusive opening night photos after the jump!
On January 12, Los Angeles was treated to an evening of folkloric whimsy as Thinkspace Gallery presented "Perennial Winds," the latest exhibit from Brooklyn based artist Dan-ah Kim. As the title suggests, "Perennial Winds" continues the artist’s exploration of movement fueled by personal, dreamlike narratives. Through the minute details of collage, textile and sewing techniques, Kim creates delicate depictions of flight reminiscent of classic storybooks. From the portrayal of friends frolicking with a kite, to a fisherman casting his net on a starry night, to the visitation of spirits in a young girl’s bedroom, Kim transports the viewer into a magical world we long to get lost in. Take a look at some photos of the artist’s new work below. — Stephanie Chefas
Recently, CHG Circa presented their inaugural exhibit "Haro," the latest collection of work by pop surrealist Lola. With "Haro," the artist's work takes on a more personal approach as it illustrates the recent sacrifices she made to obtain her wants and desires. Having relocated to the United Kingdom not to long ago, the L.A. native says, “These paintings are reminders of what it means to chase a dream. I decided one year ago to change everything I know about comfort, leave my Los Angeles home, and save all I can to move myself and my girls to a cozy setting in England.” Her paintings, saturated with surreal symbolism and charming narratives, explore themes of discovery, hope, and finding one's voice despite life's challenges.  View more photos by Sam Graham from opening night after the jump. — Stephanie Chefas
On August 11, Los Angeles was treated to an evening of feminine allure as Copro Gallery presented "Wild at Heart," the latest exhibition from French artist Miss Van. Continuing the artist’s exploration with dark, dream-like narratives, "Wild at Heart" displays her signature muses adorned with bestial masks that add an air of mystery and sultry sophistication to her latest body of work. Focusing on details such as luscious lips, seductive eyes and sex kitten hair allows the internationally recognized artist to fully embrace her poupees’ fierce personalities and compelling attitudes while simultaneously challenging the viewer to acknowledge the duality in all of us. Take a look at some opening night photos below courtesy of Caro and Copro Gallery.  – Stephanie Chefas

Recently, the highly praised Os Gemeos exhibit entitled ‘Miss You’ concluded at Prism LA and Hi-Fructose dropped by the gallery to check out the new works in person. The Brazilian art duo’s first solo show with the gallery featured new large scale paintings and sculptures within an immersive installation that was like stepping into the minds of Os Gemeos. Read more after the jump! – Stephanie Chefas

On March 3rd, Thinkspace presented 'Picks of the Harvest', a massive exhibition featuring new work from the gallery's talented roster of artists alongside numerous newcomers from around the globe. From the incandescent sculptural work of Elliot Jackson to the hyper-realistic renderings of Jeff Ramirez and everything in between, the show offered artwork for everyone's aesthetic taste. Highlights of the evening were Matt Doust's large scale oil portrait, Shark Toof's progression towards graphic concepts, as well as the detailed pencil crayon drawings of Winnie Truong (Vol 22 cover artist). However, the shining star of the night was UK based artist Emma Tooth. Known for depicting extraordinary people in traditional settings, Tooth presented three oil paintings from her 'Concilium Plebis' series portraying urbanites in a chiaroscuro setting reminiscent of the old masters. View more images and opening night photos after the jump.  – Stephanie Chefas


The figurative works of Lily Mae Martin are a seamless blend of dual forces. They are delicately rendered yet aggressive in nature, uncluttered in presentation yet complicated in scope, dark in tone but definitely not humorless. With every elastic push and pull of an expressive face or awkward pose, Lily Mae explores feminist, sexual and emotive themes while simultaneously capturing both the subject’s vulnerability and strengths. Here Lily Mae Martin talks with Hi-Fructose about the obstacles she overcame to become an artist, the painters who inspire her andthe new outlook motherhood has given her. -Stephanie Chefas

On December 9th, street art photographer and Hi-Fructose contributor, Bryan Mier (aka Birdman) stepped out from behind the camera to present his debut solo show “Wish You Were Here” at Novel Café. Featuring a photo collection of some of the best graffiti and street artists working today, “Wish You Were Here” documents Birdman’s nightly adventures in LA and invites the viewer into a world otherwise rarely witnessed firsthand. From an up close and personal shot of HowNosm on a hydraulic lift to Ludo wheat pasting in a conspicuous location, each piece explores the artist’s creative (and sometimes dangerous) process of donating art to the streets.

In addition to the photographic images, collaborative works with David Flores, KH no 7, Phil Lumbang, Gregory Siff, Lydia Emily and Cyrcle were on display as well. Using photo portraits taken by Birdman, each artist personalized the images with their own unique aesthetic. "Wish You Were Here" is on display through December 31st.

On December 17th, Corey Helford Gallery presented “Gilded Roses”, the fourth solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist Sylvia Ji. “Gilded Roses” unveils a collection of twelve new paintings referencing Elizabethan and Victorian costume design. Each piece explores the intricate details of lace, silk, feathers and ornate accessories illustrating the fashions of a bygone era. Seductive females embodying virtues of beauty, strength and power are highlighted in Ji's signature crimson palette alongside several works in deep amethyst and emerald hues. 

Standing out amongst these compelling figures were "La Fee Verte" and "White Cravat". Inspired by the spirit of Victorian bohemian culture, "La Fee Verte" evokes a heightened state of natural elegance while "White Cravat" introduces an androgynous portrait reminiscent of the romanticism of a Byron poem. Overall, this latest body of work is arguably Ji's strongest to date capturing beauty in its rarest form. "Gilded Roses" is on display through January 14th, 2012. - Stephanie Chefas

On December 10th, Thinkspace presented “As It Falls Over You”, a duo show with the fresh talents of photorealist artists Nathan DeYoung and Linnea Strid. The show includes 10 new photo-realist paintings by each artist bursting with color and theme. Strid's self-portraits feature the artist submerged in water, the depictions so vivid you feel wet just looking at them. Each piece resonates with melancholy, mortality, loneliness and anxiety. In addition to her signature electric hues, the artist showcases two black & white paintings that simultaneously evokes a cinematic quality while heightening the human emotions within each piece.

DeYoung’s first solo exhibit with the gallery highlights concepts of strength and desire via flawless renderings of feminine allure saturated with vibrant hues. This latest body of work also offers DeYoung's first abstract works--intense, palpable energy on display in every brushstroke. - Stephanie Chefas

Deep in the heart of Hollywood, tucked away in her cluttered backyard studio, artist Sylvia Ji blasts heavy metal through iPod speakers and works tirelessly at a pace nearly matching the blistering guitar solos. Inspiration lies scattered about like confetti: books on Gustav Klimt, stacked DVDs of Jane Eyre and Queen Elizabeth I, fashion story boards of modern haute couture. It’s all in preparation for Ji’s fourth solo exhibit, “Gilded Roses”, debuting December 17th at the Corey Helford Gallery.

But it wasn’t research alone that brought her here. Since a young age, Ji’s been fascinated with the theatrical nature of Elizabethan fashions, and by injecting her trademark style with a Victorian theme she’s found a renewed vitality evident in every brushstroke. Expect alluring femme fatales dressed in ornate fashions reminiscent of a bygone era. Explosions of lace, feathers and silk adorn the silhouettes of her subjects as she explores the heightened beauty and satirical grace of Britian’s Golden Age. Thanks to her enduring passion for European costume, “Gilded Roses” holds a special place in Ji’s heart, and it just might do the same for you. Here’s a sneak peak. - Stephanie Chefas

Finding his muse in ancient allegories, João Ruas' latest illustrations depict mythological characters in contemporary settings. Think a phantasmagoric Zeus set against the backdrop of a solar windmill farm and you have an idea of what to expect. It's these deeply compelling and unique images that have seduced his audience and made us fall in love with not only the artwork, but the equally compelling and unique João Ruas himself. With his current exhibition entitled "Yore" on display recently at Thinkspace (see our opening night coverage here), Hi-Fructose talks to the artist about the inspiration behind the show, his enchantment with mythology and the artists who invigorate him. - Stephanie Chefas

Many were in attendance and none were disappointed on Nov. 19th at Corey Helford Gallery when one of the most prolific artists of our generation, Ron English, debuted his first solo exhibit with the gallery. Entitled "Seasons in Supurbia", the exhibition features 18 new photo-realistic paintings from the Pop Surrealist Master along with several large sculptures of the artist's iconic characters.

As the title suggests, English saturates the intimate moments of suburban life with rebellious imagery, consumer culture and POPaganda politics. Outside "Supurbia", Cameo Deer (dressed in camouflage coats that change with the seasons) inhabit a hyper-real forest alongside a shark, alligator and Yorkshire Terrier. In addition to the new works, Jan and Bruce Helford surprised the artist (as well as gallery guests) with a four string quartet dressed as English's beloved Combrat characters. - Stephanie Chefas

Later this month, on November 12th, artist Thomas Doyle will be making his return to Culver City's LeBasse Projects. We first covered Doyle's work in HF Vol. 11 (and last featured his work online here) and are excited to see a new chapter in his ongoing sculptural dialog open with the continuation of his "Distillation series." For the new work, Doyle further explores the weightlessness of his subject's world as their homes float about in their custom blown glass encasement, oftentimes as eerie scenes of destruction lay waste around them. For 'Surface to Air,' Doyle will also be debuting the latest in his "Foregone series," a photographic survey of his figurative sculpture enlarged to reveal the minutia of his milimeter high characters. Get a full look at the new piece pictured above, here on Hi-Fructose.

On view at Known Gallery is 'Achtung!,' the solo debut of uber-graffiti twins HowNosm. Recognizedfor flawlessly executing massive murals with an impeccable attention to detail, the pair successfullybrings their work indoors via 15 large scale paintings and an epic sculpture installation. As the titlesuggest, Achtung! immediately establishes the duo’s intent to capture the viewer's attention. The sparse,yet deliberate color palette of red, black and white emphasizes every dimension within each piece, creatinga constant push and pull from image to background. Allegories of wealth, greed, consumption, love andlife are a common thread throughout the body of work, conveying eternal messages of humanity. Thisvisual narration serves as a reminder to walk alertly through life and illustrates the inherent dangers of anapathetic existence. 'Achtung!' will be on view until November 5th. - Stephanie Chefas

Known for his digital dreamscapes featuring woman-child figures set in elaborate Rococo style interiors, Ray Caesar creates elegant yet haunting works that are a reflection of his continuous path to self-discovery. At first glance these characters may appear pretty or even delicate, but further examination reveals disfiguring elements that challenge both the viewer’s perception and their interpretation.

In anticipation of Ray's upcoming show at Corey Helford, Hi-Fructose talks to the artist about the inspiration behind his latest works, the artists who inspire him and what he plans to do with all those digital files stored in his computer. - Stephanie Chefas

Subscribe to the Hi-Fructose Mailing List