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This month, Copro Gallery in Santa Monica once again pays homage to Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, helmer of horror-tinged films like Hellboy, Pacific Rim, Pan's Labyrinth, and others. “Inspirations, Curiosities & Other Oddities” collects work from more than 50 artists. In turn, the show also pays tribute to the names that influenced Del Toro: Edgar Allen Poe, HP Lovecraft, Mary Shelley, and others.
On Saturday (Feb. 25), three solo exhibitions fill the spaces at Copro Gallery in Santa Monica. The features artists are Chris Mars, Amadine Urruty, and Ciou, each creating dreamlike worlds that can be both warm and unsettling.
Australian artist, publisher, and curator Jon Beinart is the founder of the beinArt Surreal Art Collective, a group of international artists notable for their surreal and imaginative styles. 2014 marked the reinvention of this collective which at one point featured over 500 artists- many of them will come together in a special iteration of the "beinArt Surreal Art Show" at Copro Gallery in Los Angeles this February.
Ideas about life and what drives the human soul are shared themes between artists Jana Brike and Timothy Robert Smith. In her works, Latvian artist Jana Brike (covered here) explores the spirit of her inner child through rich, narrative imagery. Los Angeles based painter Timothy Robert Smith creates images based on life experience that are split up into multi-perspectives This weekend, both artists will debut their new series in side by side exhibitions at Copro Gallery in Los Angeles. For her new body of work, titled "Anatomy of Innocence", Jana Brike depicts young people who are coming of age in intimate scenes.
With Halloween just around the corner, it's time for Copro Gallery's spooky group exhibition of "Roadside Attractions". Previously covered here on our blog, the exhibit is an extravaganza of the macabre, guest curated by Cris Velasco, who is well known for his moody film and video game scores. This year's installment coincides with joint solo exhibitions, Mark Garro's "Corpus Callosum" and Matt Dangler's "Sanctify". Artists have served up their interpretation of all things Halloween-related, and by that we mean from the scary to the darkly romantic, and even a little funny.
For five years in a row, Beyond Eden Art Fair in Los Angeles has been like an oasis of collaboration in an increasingly competitive market and growing contemporary art scenes. Over the course of that time, galleries have come and gone, but Thinkspace Gallery, Copro Gallery, C.A.V.E. Gallery, and San Francisco’s Spoke Art galleries have remained a central part of the event. Well over 5,000 people were in attendance at the fair's final installment this past weekend at the historic Barnsdall Art Park. This year's event was as eclectic as ever, featuring works spanning Graffiti, Abstract, Surrealism, and other pop-culture influenced styles.
This month coincides with the rising of Sirius, Orion's dog star, from which the dog days of summer take their namesake and Copro Gallery's upcoming group show. Inspired by the summer star, the participating artists of "Summer Soirée" draw upon seasonal and fantastical themes for the exhibition. In particular, the exhibit features a new series of acrylic paintings by Florida based artist Scott Scheidly, previously covered here on the blog. His portraits play on the mythological associations of Sirius with oncoming heat, fevers and evil, as in Homer's Iliad.
Venezuelan artist Jota Leal and Polish artist Dariusz Zawadzki each mix elements of the fantastic and the surreal in their artworks. The two artists headline Copro Gallery's current group exhibition "Morpheus", so named after its co-curators James Cowan and Morpheus Gallery in Las Vegas. Zawadzki's series exhibits the artist's skill in different media, mixing up oil painting, watercolor, and hand-embellished giclee pieces. His portraits of what look like post-apocalytpic villians out of Mad Max are treated with the rendering of old master painters.
The childhood toys of surrealist painter Geoffrey Gersten visit the Cold War era in his current exhibition at Copro Gallery, "MK-ULTRA Wars." The show coincides with Anthony Ausgang's equally whimsical exhibition "Catascopes." Gersten takes his title and inspiration from the CIA's mind control program "Project MKUltra," which illegally ran drug testing from the 1950s to early 70s. The project is used as a metaphor for Gersten's paintings, which infuse conflict into otherwise dreamy landscapes populated by candy colored characters.
Los Angeles based artist Anthony Ausgang, coined a "godfather of Lowbrow," has made a career of depicting his own struggles in his kaleidoscopic cat paintings. Colorful and intensely surreal, his playful images portraying cartoon cats in unusual scenarios are loosely inspired by reality. Ausgang makes no secret of his experimentation with psychedelics, and these experiences have carved their way into his hallucinatory visions and bright palette. In his upcoming solo exhibition "Catascopes", opening May 30th at Copro Gallery, Ausgang's trippy paintings of cats get even trippier.
Chris Mars's paintings engross viewers in a dark and macabre world where exaggerated humanoid characters of different colors and sizes find themselves in a dark inferno. Mars's painting style has a sculptural quality to it. The forms he paints appear so convincingly 3D, it's easy to suspend disbelief and immerse oneself in the scenes he depicts. On March 21, Copro Gallery will debut "Chris Mars & Friends," which features a selection of Mars's new paintings as well as work by Dan Quintana, Dan May, menton3, and Erik Alos. Based on disturbing events Mars witnessed while visiting a relative at a mental hospital, his new work explores the dark crevices of the mind, approaching this classic horror trope with sensitivity and nuance.
Last weekend, Santa Monica's Copro Gallery debuted their exhibition "Conjoined V," guest curated by artist Chet Zar. True to Zar's own dark, surreal aesthetic, the annual sculpture show features a variety of emerging and established artists with a penchant for all things creepy, curious, and bizarre. Kazu Tsuji's gigantic, silicone bust of Salvador Dali, Jessica Joslin's metal-adorned taxidermy animals, and surreal imaginings by Craig LaRotonda and Jim McKenzie are among the myriad of bold and pop culture-inspired works in the show. Take a look at some highlights from "Conjoined V" below and see it in person through February 14.
Influential Norwegian painter Odd Nerdrum began to paint figurative, Neo-Classical works inspired by the Renaissance in the late 1970s — a period when abstract, conceptual art was en vogue. Openly embracing kitsch, his early work was waged as a criticism against the contemporary art status quo as well as an homage to the old masters. Over the years, Nerdrum has been a mentor to many contemporary artists as narrative-based, figurative painting has risen in prominence once again. He and his three students, Luke Hillestad, David Molesky and Caleb Knodell, will be exhibiting together at Copro Gallery in Los Angeles for "Pupils of Apelles," opening on November 15.
With Halloween just around the corner, we're seeing many exhibitions exploring darker themes and subject matter inspired by the season- from new works by the Black Moon collective to "The 13th Hour" at Last Rites gallery, and even Yayoi Kusama's "Pumpkins". Among the spookiest is opening tonight at Copro Gallery; Chet Zar's "ALL HALLOWS' EVE", coinciding with their group show "Roadside Attractions" (previewed here). Lover of horror cinema, monsters, movie props and all things Halloween, Zar contributes a new body of work with some of the holiday's most popular images in his style. Glowing skulls, witches, ghosts and the mysterious unknown are all represented in these colorful 60s-inspired illustrations.
As Halloween approaches, Copro Gallery is gearing up for their "Roadside Attractions" group show, a dark art extravaganza guest curated by film and video game composer Cris Velasco. Subtitled "A collection of oddities," the exhibition features works in a variety of media. Some pieces revel gleefully in the idea of evil, like Clifton Harvey and Matt Dangler's paintings, while others present insidious-looking, haunting specters (as in the case of Laurie Lee Brom and Chris Mars). The exhibition opens on October 18 alongside Chet Zar's solo show, "All Hallow's Eve." Following the opening, viewers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in the shows' macabre themes at the gallery's Halloween costume party. Take a look at our preview of "Roadside Attractions" below.
For nearly a decade, Copro Gallery has fused emerging talents with established names in the New contemporary art game in their annual "BLAB!" show. The show is the brainchild of Blab World creator and art director, Monte Beauchamp, representative of his eclectic taste in artists of varying aesthetics and a penchant for the unusual. Many of them have appeared in most, if not all, of the annual shows and developed together with the event. Last Saturday, "BLAB!" celebrated it's ninth year as an exhibition with the announcement of the upcoming BLAB World 3 anthology.
In its 9th year, the "BLAB!" group show comes to Copro Gallery in Santa Monica once again, featuring a selection of works by some well-known creators in the New Contemporary gallery scene. From Joe Sorren's soft, storybook-like works to Ryan Heshka's satirical, pulp-inspired scenes and Travis Lampe's maniacal cartoon characters, the artists cover a broad range of styles that stem from the low brow and Pop Surrealist movements. Curated by art director, designer and editor Monte Beauchamp, the exhibition coincides with release of his third art anthology, BLAB World 3, which features the work of the aforementioned artists and many more. The exhibition opens on September 13 alongside Yoko d'Holbachie's solo show "Genesis of Girls." Take a look at our preview of both shows below.
On Saturday, Copro Gallery pulled back the curtains for "Suggestivism: Chronology" (previewed here), curated by Nathan Spoor. This is the fifth installment of "Suggestivism", Spoor's moniker for fantastical, figurative work that 'suggests' to be more than it seems.  In the 1890s, art historian Sadakichi Hartmann defined it in his writings as a style “of poetic mysticism and psychological intensity.” Spoor chose 42 contemporary artists whose work shares a surreal, poetic-like quality, such as Aron Wiesenfeld, Chet Zar, Nicoletta Ceccolli, Dan May, Hsiao-Ron Cheng, Naoto Hattori, Charlie Immer, Gregory Jacobsen, Sarah Joncas, and more.
Artist and curator Nathan Spoor takes over Copro Gallery in Santa Monica this month for another iteration of his "Suggestivism" group show, an annual exhibition with a rotating roster of contemporary artists. Spoor coined the term "Suggestivism" during his graduate studies to describe the type of ambiguous, fantastical figurative art he was creating. He later discovered that art historian Sadakichi Hartmann used the term as early as 1890 to describe “an art that is possibly more than it seems, or possibly an art that is not what it seems.” The description seems apt for the collection of dreamlike, imagination-driven works in the show, featuring artists like Amy Sol, Dan May, Scott Musgrove, Heidi Tailifer, Michael Page, Hannah Yata and Marco Mazzoni. Spoor has staged past versions of the show in LA, Rome and New York. Take a look at the new work in this year's rendition below.
Ken Garduno (Vol. 29) is an artist who sketches tirelessly for the pure enjoyment and therapeutic nature of creating. His collection of sketchbooks boasts hundreds of drawings that he never shows. Since we featured his drawings on our blog over a year ago, he’s retreated to his Los Angeles studio to develop an exciting new style of work. His mid-century inspired paintings previously addressed themes of romance, sexual desire, and modern relationships with vibrant intensity. Recently, Garduno has taken a hint from Calder and Kandinsky, while employing tribal-like patterns to create a new narrative. We visited his studio to talk about his new inspiration in this exclusive interview.
Currently on view at Copro Gallery in Santa Monica, "Morpheus" is a group show guest curated by Morpheus Gallery. Morpheus began as a publishing house in 1989, carving a niche for themselves by showcasing the late, Swiss artist H.R. Geiger and other dark surrealists. The influence of Geiger's disturbing, biomorphic creations can be easily spotted in the current group show at Copro. Dariusz Zawadzki, a Polish artist, does not shy away from horror and gore, painting foggy scenes in which everything appears to be connected by a tissue-like moss, adding to the feeling of an unescapable, nightmarish world.
Do you recall the disappointed feeling from childhood, when someone told you the imaginary creations of your pretend games were not real? Painter Mark Elliott seems to be one of the fortunate ones who never stopped pretending. The paintings in his latest series for his upcoming show at Copro Gallery with Genevive Zacconi and Kelly Eden are a sort of validation of these youthful day dreams. Often focused on young characters, the pieces exhibit fantastical scenarios that affirm feelings of playfulness and joy.
While many depictions of nature involve happy critters or placid landscapes, Mu Pan's new series of paintings are rife with rage. The new body of work Pan will present for his solo show, "One Inch Punch," at Copro Gallery in Santa Monica depicts the struggle to survive when conditions become extreme. Granted, though wild animals hunt and kill, the creatures in Pan's work seem to be part of an allegory for human warfare. After all, how many frog armies are there staging organized battles? Pan's paintings hold up a mirror to human civilizations, asking us to consider the brutal legacy of colonialism and war that continues to shape the world. "One Inch Punch" opens on May 17 and will be on view through June 7.
Last Saturday, Los Angeles got a new kind of British invasion. Copro Gallery held their “The British Are Coming” group show in conjunction with Brit Week which celebrates creative innovation between the US and UK. If you couldn’t make it to the show, you missed an opportunity to see work by UK artists Banksy, Pure Evil, Insa, Nick Walker, RYCA, Inkie, Goldie, China Mike, and Ben Eine. The exhibition gave viewers the chance to enjoy gallery sized pieces from rarely accessible artists who live thousands of miles away. Read more after the jump.

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