Sean Mahan Translucent Vision June 1 – June 22, 2019
Concurrently on view in the Thinkspace project room are new works by Florida-based artist Sean Mahan in Translucent Vision. A painter known for his graphically stylized take on social realism, Mahan creates sweetly nostalgic portraits and illustrative renderings of children, incorporating vintage objects and motifs to explore an idea of cultural obsolescence through the fetishization of symbols and references drawn from bygone eras. With interest in the socializing dimensions of culture and consumption, Mahan encourages the viewer to critically reconsider their preconceptions and engagement with the mores that physically determine not only our ways of seeing but our potential for growth and more substantive existences. Mahan also seeks the innately good and redemptive in the human, drawing from both hopeful and melancholic reserves in his imagery.
Fascinated and disconcerted by the mediation and experiential dispossession that dominates our encounters with the world, especially given our pathological reliance on digitally mitigated forms of communication, Mahan considers the sociocultural fallacies of this ‘progress’ and its ultimate role in shaping and structuring our experience at best, and atrophying it in confinement at worst. Translucent Vision explores this idea of a more mutable, cooperative, and plastically referential framework, in place of a confining one.
Each painting in the new series is executed on a vintage piece of fabric, part of a collection amassed over some time by the artist. Once itself the product of commercial mass manufacture and popular tastes, the found substrate is transformed, re-contextualized, and returned to the world as a singular object. Transformed by the artist’s intervention into an original gesture rather than a cultural artifact, these works suggest both reclamation and loss through their metamorphosis.
Jaune & Slinkachu Trash Talk June 1 – June 22, 2019
(Los Angeles, CA) – Thinkspace is pleased to present Trash Talk featuring new works by internationally renowned artists and street interventionists, Jaune, from Belgium, and Slinkachu, from the UK. Both critically acclaimed artists work on an atypically miniaturist scale, especially given the monumental standard demanded of public art in the deafening context of the city. Jaune and Slinkachu both challenge this paradigm of scale while incorporating the city’s refuse and garbage into their imagery as materials and themes. Jaune, with his ingeniously tiny, stenciled, fluorescent-clad city workers, turned agents of anarchic chaos and mischief, and Slinkachu, with his push pin-scaled plastic figures absurdly proposed in microscopic dioramas, turned abandoned public art installations. In a world overrun by accumulation and waste, both Jaune and Slinkachu consider our vulnerability, both accidental and conspired, in a city subsumed by trash.
Each artist brings a uniquely site-responsive approach to their introjections into existing city landscapes. Jaune, responding to the specific conditions of place while calling attention to its often overlooked recesses, and Slinkachu incorporating macro views of our world into the miniature vistas of his own. Both also respond to the collective social tendency to shut down perceptually and visually when caught in the fray of the city’s frenetic, alienating, and often existentially exhausting pace. Disrupting this tendency to cultivate inattention, both Jaune and Slinkachu engage city streets all over the world with the unexpected, staging surprise encounters on an almost invisible scale to spark curiosity and renew personal interest within the overwhelmed and desensitized city.
Belgian stencil artist Jaune has established himself internationally through an emblematic cast of tiny mutinying city sanitation workers ingeniously, and often hilariously albeit absurdly, integrated into the urban landscape. Using trompe l’oeil techniques, Jaune’s paintings and installations incorporate miniature stenciled figures made from four to six stencil layers and multiple applications of color. The destructive and often lawless behavior of these “mini dudes” as would-be city saboteurs seems to suggest something more sinister and foreboding than their innocuous scale might initially suggest. Jaune’s brightly, fluorescent-clad workers quite literally intervene in the architectural locations chosen by the artist, activating the environment itself in illusionistic and situational ways. Always seizing upon moments of tension and potential in the actions posited, Jaune proposes open-ended narratives for the viewer to complete, and questions the visibility of action in a city conditioned by avoidance.
London-based artist Slinkachu creates and photographs miniature public art installations in his ongoing series, The Little People Project, began in 2006. Staged and assembled from little train set figures the artist has remodeled and painted, these incredibly Lilliputian sculptural scenarios incorporate everyday objects and castaway materials as props, here a bottle cap boat, there a toy car crushed by a lollipop. He then shoots the tableaux, bringing these minute protagonists to life through incredible macro photography and then “abandoning” them into the landscape, left somewhat poetically to the onslaught of urban entropy and human destruction. Equal parts sculpture, installation, street art, and photography, Slinkachu’s funny yet microscopically poignant works are about the discovery of the unexpected on an unlikely scale, but their compelling absurdity also stirs a melancholic current belied by their diminutive size: they, like us, are dwarfed and forgotten by indifferent surroundings.
Trash Talk will feature individual works by both Jaune and Slinkachu, as well as collaborative pieces, new editions, and site-specific interventions in the streets of Los Angeles.
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
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.
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.
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.