Jeff Soto's imaginary world of magic, monsters and daydreams seem to exist in a different time and place, yet they allude to our real world. For his upcoming exhibition at KP Projects/MKG, he explores this world after dark with a new series of paintings, "Nightgardens." With nighttime as his main concept, his images go to a place where darkness symbolizes the unknown. We caught up with the artist while he was completing his new series, which includes 16 watercolor paintings, 10 acrylic paintings on wood, and a nearby mural of night owls, sponsored by District La Brea. Take a look at our photos from Jeff Soto's studio after the jump, courtesy Jordan Ahern.
Glenn Barr, devNgosha, and William Wray are three artists who share an affinity for 1960s cult film characters and subculture. Tomorrow, they join together at Merry Karnowsky in an exhibition of new works that elaborates on their inspirations. We first featured Glenn Barr's nostalgic portraits in HF Vol. 10, which range in emotional appeal and design. His background in graphic novels has progressed into a unique style that combines cheesy glamour with scenes based in modern reality. With the concept of "communication" as a central theme for these new pieces, we find them talking on rotary telephones. Read more after the jump.
Now on view at Merry Karnowsky Gallery in Los Angeles, Johnny 'KMNDZ' Rodriguez and Nicola Verlato's dual exhibitions paint uniquely personal pictures of conflict. There is no universal definition of what it means to struggle; whether we are emotionally conflicted with ourselves, or there is some form of friction between cultural groups, as in Verlato's works. Interestingly, both artists portray this with symbols of weaponry. View more of their new works after the jump.
Johnny Rodriguez (whom we first featured in HF Vol. 7) got the moniker KMNDZ from his graphic design profession. Pronounced "Command Z" — as in, the "undo" option on a Mac computer — the nickname alludes to both his trade and the themes in his personal artwork. Introspection, sorrow, and sometimes regret permeate his paintings. Rodriguez uses a network of self-created symbols to talk about his painful past experiences through surreal imagery. His solo show at Merry Karnowsky Gallery's KP Projects in Los Angeles, "I'd Rather Love You," opens on February 7. Take a look at our preview of his show below.
Coinciding with Merry Karnowsky gallery's "Parallel Universe" (covered here) is Lezley Saar's "Monad". For her latext exhibition, Saar focuses on the metaphysical reality, mixed with her signature Victorian subjects. Saar referred to philosopher Gottfried Leibniz's definition of "Monad" for her show's concept: “an unextended, indivisible and indestructible entity that is the basic or ultimate constituent of the universe, and a microcosm of it.” Proudly an artist of mixed ethnicity, Saar's colorful women can be linked to people in her own life, many of whom were in attendance at Saturday's opening. So, while her theme is grand, her personal touches make it feel familiar.
Edward Walton Wilcox and Todd Carptener celebrated double openings on Saturday at Merry Karnowsky Gallery. “Sacred Intention” by Wilcox was his 6th solo exhibition with the gallery featuring his dark, hand-carved gothic style pieces starring nature’s predators. Watching over the show is his totem “Abraham Stilten in de Nederlands”, a solid sequoia tree carved entirely with a chainsaw that stands 9 feet tall. New oil on panel pieces such as “Predator” and “Candy Mountain” were created on handmade wood frames, then, placed on hand carved shelves. His presentation is just as important as the paintings themselves, often removing the subject from its 2-dimensional world entirely to extend the narrative. Figures such as a rowing Grim Reaper-esque character and hovering owls appear throughout, while circling birds overhead imply something is amiss. Read more after the jump.
Filled with rich, saturated colors, Greg "Craola" Simkins's paintings present playful scenarios inspired by the natural world. Regal-looking birds, foxes and even hammer head shark enact allegorical dramas. The paintings play out like Shakespearean comedies: A sense of whimsical humor pervades the work, yet the characters' elaborate costuming suggests that these are no ordinary creatures we are observing. The anthropomorphized animals appear to belong to an old world social order. One can't help but attempt to deduce a commentary on the ways that power plays out our own society, but perhaps staring at the masterfully-painted feathers and fins is enough. Fittingly, Craola's upcoming show at Merry Karnowsky Gallery in LA, opening May 17, is titled "Good Knight." Take a look out our sneak peek of the show below, photos courtesy of Carlos Gonzalez aka Theonepointeight.