Casey Weldon’s “Latent Content” opening April 27th.

CASEY WELDON
LATENT CONTENT
April 27 – May 18, 2019

Thinkspace is pleased to present new works by Southern Californian-born artist Casey Weldon in Latent Content. Known for surreal imagery that combines darkness with humor, Weldon creates visual puns and narratively suggestive contexts to stir associations or deliver smart, if at times irreverent, punch lines. His works have often sought to critique and consider the role of popular culture and digital media in the creation of hyperbole and representational extremes.

Striving to create works that are accessible and readily legible rather than obscure, Weldon invokes familiar elements in surreal ways to play with our expectations of the everyday and commonplace. An aspect of absurdity shapes much of Weldon’s work, and a willingness to connect dreamlike extremes with creative recombinations of the known. Looking to popular culture, Weldon has played to the internet’s penultimate tendency towards distortion; his multi-eyed cats come to mind, inspired by its insatiable feline obsession and our weird cultural brevity in the age of memes. Weldon explores the wild in contrast with the domestic, and the safe punctuated by the wonderfully aberrant and strange.

By combining light with dark, Weldon’s richly hued, though at times aphotic palette becomes luminous, revealing otherworldly sources of light that often emanate or erupt impossibly from figures and landscapes. In past works, fireworks have burst forth from human eyes, a great white shark bares mandibles of Lite-Brite bulb teeth, and humanoid figures emerge mythically from otherworldly landscapes. Preferring amplified and even psychedelically disorienting colors, Weldon incorporates neons to alter the atmospheric cast of his paintings and heighten their jarring impact.

Favoring the combination of kitsch and pop, Weldon’s work in the past has gravitated towards melancholy and nostalgia, invoked longing, or inspired a vertiginous kind of confusion when faced with cutie cakes made out of steak, multi-eyed animals, or giant predatory cats shown through extreme amplifications of scale. His new body of work, however, feels thematically darker than previous output. Focusing on the theme of latency as an underlying current for this exhibition, Weldon mines the subconscious potential of his imagery, combining his penchant for narrative with a more acute and psychologically-inflected angle.

In Latent Content, Weldon continues to explore surreal hybrids, free associations, and unlikely amalgams, combining objects and creatures in symbolically valent ways. Playing with optical illusion and trompe-l’oeil techniques, Weldon creates new works that gradually reveal their initially invisible or latent layers, stirring just beneath the surface.

Liz Brizzi’s “CDMX” opening April 27th

LIZ BRIZZI
CDMX
April 27 – May 18, 2019

Concurrently on view in Thinkspace’s project room is CDMX, featuring new works by French/Italian, Los Angeles-based artist Liz Brizzi. Drawn to the momentums of recession and dissipation that shape the physical character of city streets over time, Brizzi’s refined mixed media technique combines the hauntings of photography with the impressionistic intercessions of paint to produce ambiguously merged dimensions of time and space.

With selective omissions and emphases in her imagery, Brizzi interprets the photograph with stylistic and poetic introjections, refusing it the neutrality of an unmitigated document, and pushing and pulling its edges from the brink of abstraction. Her works subtly dramatize the erasure and preservation invisibly at work in not only our subjective attempts to remember our experience of time and place but in the living character and ephemerality of cities – forever the subject of interpretation and vague longings but seldom satisfied through literal articulation. Brizzi’s works capture something determinative and essential in the individual cores of cities – in the transience of their poetry and in the impossible task of freezing the living bones of their history in intangible progress. Both haunting and immersive, Brizzi’s cityscapes are full of the imperfect poetry and ruinous stirrings that make the study of erosion a more compelling pursuit than that of the pristine.

An avid traveler always in search of poignant pause and solace in the midst of the frenetic urban fray, Brizzi documents and explores the character of place, seeking its histories and stories in the edges and details, contrasts and tensions, that impress a place’s soul upon an observer’s memory. From Los Angeles to Tokyo, Brizzi’s work is based in an exploratory impulse, a desire to lose oneself in the anonymity of frozen observation. With works conspicuously devoid of human subjects, but rather filled with the traces of their work, life, and intervention, the images hover strangely in a register of heavy absence – strung somewhere between the empirically reliable and the poetically sapient.

In CDMX, Brizzi looks to Mexico City’s venerable history, architecture, and street life for the first time, creating works based on her recent travels and photographs there. Capturing her living impressions of its textures, light, and urban anatomy, Brizzi arrests a breathing world in a state of temporary athanasia.

Opening Reception of “Seeing Red” a collaboration between BOOOOOOOM & Thinkspace Projects

Last, Saturday March 30th, Thinkspace Projects presented “Seeing Red” curated by BOOOOOOOM founder and Vancouver-based artist Jeff Hamada. The invitational group exhibition featured new 12 x12 works by over a hundred artists who have been featured on the art website BOOOOOOOM over the last decade. The gallery was packed with artists and fans throughout the evening, enjoying the wide variety of artistic styles and voices.

“Seeing Red” is on view now through April 20th at Thinkspace Projects in Culver City.

To view all available piece from the exhibition, please click here.

POW! WOW! Hawaii 2019

Our annual trip out to Hawaii for Pow! Wow! at the start of the year is always a highlight of Thinkspace’s curatorial calendar. If you were unable to meet up with us in Honolulu, check out all the action above in the official recap video.

Visit ThinkspaceProjects.com to see all available art work from the group exhibition we curated for Pow! Wow! Hawaii 2019.

Esao Andrews mid-career retrospective “Petrichor” opens at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum this May

ESAO ANDREWS
PETRICHOR
May 10 – August 4, 2019

Thinkspace is pleased to announce Petrichor, a mid-career retrospective at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum dedicated to the surreal and darkly stylized work of Japanese American artist, and Mesa AZ native, Esao Andrews. Known for his minutely detailed and narratively suggestive paintings, Andrews brings haunting imagery to life through his uniquely mannerist distortion of subjects, both human and animal, and the strange undertow of his desolate, Gothically inspired landscapes. Themed around homecomings, departures, and afflictive transformations, Andrews’ works feel drawn from the same collective imaginary reserves as myth.

Andrews attended New York’s School of Visual Arts where he studied illustration and completed a B.F.A in 2000. An accomplished figurative painter, he participated in the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery, London, in 2002. The artist has worked commercially in tandem with his fine art practice which has, in recent years, grown to include large-scale murals, and produced iconic album cover artwork for American rock band Circa Survive. He has also created numerous comic book covers for DC’s Vertigo Comics, and memorable deck designs for Deathwish and Baker Skateboards.    

Petrichor will feature over a dozen iconic works by Andrews, borrowed from private collections worldwide, and will include the original artwork from the Circa Survive album releases. Also included in the exhibition are never before seen sketches and maquettes, objects and skateboard decks, and twelve new, never before seen works alongside a site-specific mural created for the retrospective.

Staging a world of unlikely combinations and unexpected tensions, Andrews revels in the surreal elasticity of the subconscious and its penchant for the poetically absurd. No hybrid is too unimaginable, no character too fantastic, no anthropomorphous invention too unthinkable. Objects, animals, and people are all dynamically animate and sentient, subject to the inexplicable rules of their living fictional cosmos. Always one for compelling epilogues, Andrews has revisited past characters and themes throughout his career, building on earlier works and weaving a sort of narrative continuity throughout his output. Though the tone of his imagery often borders on the grotesque or even macabre, a literary impulse links Andrews’ works to the fabric of fable and myth, its folkloric threads binding it to something vaguely archetypal and collective in its haunting resonance. 

Andrews lists diverse sources of inspiration for his work, everything from art history to skate counterculture. The immersive manga fantasies of anime master Hayao Miyazaki figure prominently among his influences, as do French 19th-Century Academic painting styles, particularly its neoclassical revisitation of myth and the tenebrous cast of its moody contrasts. Andrews also cites the heightened emotional drama of Gustav Klimt’s Symbolist Art Nouveau style and Egon Schiele’s Expressionistic sensual grotesque as other stylistic sources. Contemporary painters James Jean and Inka Essenhigh list among his inspirations too, as does visionary cartoonist Al Columbia for his masterful, ghoulish reinterpretations of Americana.

“Petrichor” is said to be the fluid stone coursing through the veins of the Gods in Greek mythology, it is also the warm earthen smell after a downpour on desiccated land, the relief of rain on hot desert and dry air that signals a moment of elemental transformation and all the inexplicable micro-metamorphoses that attend a relieved and changing landscape. This is the dark but beautifully redemptive imaginary Andrews is continually bringing to life – one in which endings and beginnings are indivisibly bound.