The opening reception of Swank on September 2nd debuted nine artists from the gallery’s roster, whose work and recognition are on the rise. Each brings their own unique stylistic and technical approach to their practice, and though they share loose affinities, the grouping demonstrates the diversity and latitude of the New Contemporary Movement. Michael Reeder, David Rice, Tran Nguyen, Wiley Wallace, Molly Gruninger, Alex Garant, Sean Norvet, Christopher Konecki, and Lauren Brevner were curated by the gallery for this exhibition as promising new voices to watch on their ascent.
Please visit the Thinkspace Gallery website to view available work from SWANK,
The opening reception of Josh Keyes’s Implosion, Ken Flewellyn’s Stay Gold, and Terry Arena’s Swarm exhibitions on Saturday, August 5th was one of the most vibrant openings of the year. Josh Keyes’s sold out exhibition drew in fans to examine his dystopian and psychologically fraught post- human universe in further detail. The works express Keyes’s fear and anxiety over the current political climate, in addition to his love of dancing horses and sunken ships.
Thinkspace veteran, Ken Flewellyn, debuted his first solo exhibition Stay Gold in the Thinkspace Gallery project room. At doors, half of the show was sold, and by the end of the night, the show was sold out. Each new red dot leading to an uproar of joyous cheer from those congregating in the project room.
Terry Arena’s “Swarm” delighted people as they held up magnifying glasses to her hyper realistic and detailed graphite drawings. The hung works very pattern itself a part of a larger narrative around swarming.
All three exhibitions are on view now through August 26th at Thinkspace Gallery, Tuesday through Saturday noon to 6 pm.
Thinkspace is proud to present Josh Key’s first Los Angeles exhibition in a decade, ‘Implosion‘ in the galleries main room. The sold out exhibition explores the fears around our current political climate in Keye’s familiar dystopian future. Last year, our detailed interview with Josh Keyes covered his creative process and artistic career. For Implosion, we had a bit more fun discussing favorite colors and dinner parties. Implosion is on view now through August 26th at Thinkspace Gallery, Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 6 pm.
SH: What is the inspiration behind this latest body of work?
JK: This body of work emerged from the fear and anxiety surrounding this presidency, and the possible impact it could have on the future of the world. I also like dancing horses and sunken ships.
SH: This is the first time you’ve shown in Los Angeles in about a decade and your first solo with Thinkspace Gallery, do you have any specific thoughts or feelings about showing in LA again?
JK: LA is a mysterious city, like New York, Los Angeles is a state of being, with less grinding cogs like New York, LA is fueled by plastic dreams. I think my work should feel at home in this land of fractured nightmares and dreams.
SH: To those who would argue against the importance of art in society, how would you explain what art is and the artist’s role in society?
JK: Art is like a fart, or a fragrant flower, both are necessary to express the human condition. I fail to see anything, object, app, clothing that is devoid of some aesthetic element. We breath, live, eat , and see he world in terms of design. The major change, there is no hierarchy anymore, the gods, critics, and authorities of what is good and bad taste are dead, all is and everything is equal in this ocean of static. The artist dreams, creating a hybrid of personal experience with cultural mythology, resulting in the highest form of emoji.
SH: Do you remember the first time you showed your work in public? What was the piece, and where were you?
JK: I was arrested, oh wait, my work not my privates. I was in high school, and I entered an art show with a small painting, it was a copy of one of Rembrandt’s self-portraits, over Rembrandt’s shoulder was Disney’s Goofy giving a silly smile. It won first prize.
In our interview with you last year, you shared a lot about your creative process, education, and artistic growth; so our questions this time around will be a little more fun…
SH: What pop-culture item; music, movies, tv, incident etc.. that has shaped you creatively?
JK: I’m a sci-fi film junky, and soundtrack addict. Since I was a kid that genre has inspired my imagery and painting compositions. I grew up watching Harryhausen films like the original Clash of the Titans, and John Carpenter’s The Thing, and also films like Brazil and The Cook the Thief His Wife and Her Lover. They left a significant imprint on my aesthetic sensibility, ever since I have been drawn to things that slightly disturbing and also beautiful, like my wife.
SH: If you were reincarnated as an animal, what do you think you’d come back as and why? Is that the same as what you would want to be reincarnated as?
JK: My students said I reminded them of a meerkat from a Disney film, manic and twitchy. Naturally, of course, I would come back as a mighty lion.
SH: What was your favorite color as a kid? What is your favorite color as an adult? What is your daughter’s favorite color at the moment?
JK: Silver was my favorite color. It wasn’t really a color but the reflective quality, it held all colors. I suppose my favorite color now is bluish green, maybe subconsciously because that is what color my toddler presents me with in her diapers. Her favorite color is YELLOW and in paint form, it must be applied to every surface of both house and body.
SH: If you were to host a dinner party for five people dead or alive, who would you invite? What’s on the menu? And what would you ask them?
JK: Trump, Bob Ross, Jane Austen, James Brown, and Herman Munster.
Menu: A conveyor belt of moving food plated by Willie Wonka and the Oompa Loompas.
1. What is man?
2. What is truth?
3. What is man’s responsibility to truth?
Our current main room exhibiting artist Noségo just completed an awesome mural for Pow! Wow! Long Beach. He used a touch of his panache for mural work for his exhibit “Ingress” as well; make sure to see the exhibition before it closes this Saturday, July 29th.
Thinkspace Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday noon to 6 pm.
Visit the Thinkspace Gallery website to view all available works from Ingress.
August 5 – August 26, 2017
(Los Angeles) – Thinkspace is pleased to present Implosion, a solo exhibition featuring new works by Portland-based artist Josh Keyes. The artist’s first solo with Thinkspace gallery, and his first in Los Angeles in a decade, Implosion offers a fractured look at a dystopian and psychologically fraught post-human universe. This world, in which the remnants of an anthropomorphic past coexist uncomfortably alongside a displaced natural world, is immediately recognizable as Keyes’, a painter who has spent the last 15 years exploring civilization’s final frontier: a world dispossessed and in bleak transition.
Keyes’ unique type of “eco-surrealism” offers a cautionary swan song. In an ostensibly not so distant future, the natural world is caught in a fascinating, albeit tragically irrevocable, death spasm. Fallen, and taxed well beyond our current state of environmental depletion, this world is siphoned, its ecological exhaustion has led to inversion, dislocation, chaos, contradiction, and disjuncture. Water levels have surged, habitats are destroyed, unlikely species commingle, humans are gone, and the world has unraveled to a state of absurd disorder and irremediable loss.
Best known for his diorama style compositions, Keyes’ detailed paintings stage hyper-realistically rendered animals and objects against stark white backgrounds. This compositional device captures moments at a remove, as though they’re segments or cross-sections pulled from natural history museum models. The animals appear in varying states of distress and deracination as nomadic wanderers in counterintuitive scenes. At times his specimens are on fire or submerged beneath water, at others they appear as partial skeletal remains or are erupting into butterflies, ever present in absentia, however, are the traces of human damage and intervention. There are never human subjects in his works, per se, but our deleterious presence resonates throughout in the form of street signage, urban relics, graffiti, dumpsters, cars, monuments..all of which feel tragicomic in the context of this post-apocalyptic wreckage.
Keyes has recently taken on filling the entire pictorial space, abandoning the white absence of the ground in favor of a more immersive take on his recurring themes and dystopian imagery. Rather than appearing as isolated fragments or decontextualized vignettes, the paintings present whole environments – a holistically reconstituted nightmare. Though he continues to create both types of work, each functions a bit differently – one at a conceptual remove through the use of the diorama device, and the other a fictional, though terrifyingly plausible, environment in its entirety – like a museum panorama or natural history exhibit. His quasi-taxonomies are poetic chronicles of disaster.
A personal psychic dimension also informs Josh Keyes’ surreal works. The recurrence of certain animal characters, for instance, take on cryptic personal significance in their reiteration. This visual mythology of intrusion and disenfranchisement also functions as an elaborate allegorical stage. Though clearly a requiem of sorts for an ecological doomsday, the estranged state of the human condition, not to mention its absurdity, is also at the forefront. Keyes taps into a poetics of loss and alienation through these extended animal metaphors; a space of longing and over saturation familiar to us all.
This implosive world is one in which the absurd reigns and the floodgates of order have collapsed in upon themselves. The laws of the natural world have eroded, and in the wake of this chaos are the traces of a manmade artificiality, tokens of the ruinous legacy left behind by its makers. Despite the clearly dystopian tone of this vision, something beautiful persists in the raw power of the natural world the artist depicts, the beauty of its harbingers, and the urgency of its, and our, vulnerability. Keyes’ intense psychological landscapes force us to reconsider the stability of the very ground we take for granted.
August 5 – August 26, 2017
Concurrently on view in the Thinkspace project room is Stay Gold, featuring new works by Los Angeles-based artist, and Thinkspace family veteran, Ken Flewellyn. A realist painter fascinated by the intersection of diverse cultures, personal histories, and Hip Hop, Flewellyn creates portraits of women that challenge our assumptions about identity and cultural homogeneity.
Inspired by his lifelong love of Hip Hop and his coming of age as a boy during its golden age in the 80s, Flewellyn’s work has always been about music and its impact on his personal vantage point and outlook on the world. As a cultural form, Hip Hop emerged from a localized cultural moment only to evolve into a variegated and international form that would systemically embrace the freedom of appropriation, and the complexity of multiple voices. This idea of cultural heterogeneity has influenced recurring themes in his imagery and has shaped his belief in the positive power of cultural mash-up.
Borrowing motifs and inspiration from Japanese culture and aesthetics, a visual influence in his home since childhood, Flewellyn often depicts women in traditional Japanese garb, silks, and kimonos. The subjects, however, remain anonymous, visible only by hands, body, and gestures, seldom, if ever, are faces or individuals revealed in their entirety. The subject’s identity, as a result, is relayed by the presence of revelatory objects, tattoos, and accessories – external clues that point to something beyond the seen and allow for the aesthetic to prevail over individuation or the distraction of specificity. That being said, however, Flewellyn depicts real women based on actual people – friends, and strangers – anchoring his imagery in reality rather than unrealistic idealizations.
The juxtaposition of formal cultural garb and pop cultural accouterments keeps the work fascinating. These tightly cropped compositions are always informed by the presence of Hip Hop imagery, whether in the form of boom boxes, tapes, gold chains or typography. Playful and energized with tactility and detail, they’re both sensual and contemporary – solemn and light. Each painting in Stay Golden is adorned with the sumptuousness of gold and includes hidden Hip Hop references to its golden age throughout, all as an ode to the genre that has never lost its sheen.