Josh Keyes’s “Implosion” Up Next at Thinkspace Gallery

JOSH KEYES
IMPLOSION

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.

Ken Flewellyn’s “Stay Gold” Up Next at Thinkspace Gallery

KEN FLEWELLYN
STAY GOLD

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.

 

Entropy Magazine Interviews Terry Arena

Arts and culture magazine Entropy recently interviewed artist Terry Arena who currently is exhibiting a few pieces in our “LAX / DTW: Detroit Hustle II” show at Inner State Gallery. Terry is a talented graphite artist who is able to balance light and shadow within a finite space. We’re excited to be showing works from Terry Arena next month, August 5th, in our office area for her exhibition Swarm.

Find out more about one of the newest members of the Thinkspace Family, Terry Arena on the Entropy website.

Entropy: How would you describe your art? It could be characterized as representational art, photorealistic drawings, still-life with graphite. And, of course, it’s fine art, but your work also delves into conceptual art or maybe even activist art.

Arena: I would classify it similarly. Maybe socially aware contemporary still life. I don’t want to take a strong role in terms of activism, but I want to participate in a dialogue about contemporary issues.

‘UNITED > DIVIDED’ the interactive installation by David ‘Meggs’ Hooke & Miya Tsukazaki – Temple Children

David ‘Meggs’ Hooke and Miya Tsukazaki (together Temple Children) created the evolving and interactive installation ‘UNITED > DIVIDED’ currently on view for Thinkspace curated exhibition,  ‘LAX/DTW: Detroit Hustle II’ at Inner State Gallery now through August 26th.

The immersive installation is a 270 -degree experience created as a three-phase progression, the initial phased marked as the “Divided.” Together Children invited friends, artists, and the public to participate in the artwork’s evolution, painting colorful peace signs and positive messages over the floor on one-half of the ‘X’ (a symbol for division).

In the artists’ words,
“The intention was to create a genuine experience of people working together to celebrate shared creativity, positivity, and sense of community. “A seemingly small gesture of inviting people into our home studio to paint on the floor side-by-side was a humbling experience overflowing with positive energy,” they said.
The ‘Greater Than’ ( > ) phase emerged as a result of the public’s involvement, and in the week that followed, MEGGS and Miya transitioned the installation into its final phase, ‘Unified.’ The resulting colorful peace sign leans on its side, a dual expression of the planet’s wavering environmental state and hope for a resurgence of solidarity. They installed living plants and flowers sourced from Eastern Market, creating a juxtaposition of Detroit’s discarded layers and Mother Nature’s revival.

The underlying inspiration for the artwork was their reaction to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and was motivated to highlight what human beings are capable of through unification, continued proactivity, and perseverance from the community level up.”

“The fight against catastrophic climate change begins and ends with us, and we must take responsibility for our own carbon footprints in the name of Mother Earth,” says MEGGS.

‘UNITED > DIVIDED’  was created in MEGGS’ & Miya’s home studio from approximately 90% repurposed and natural materials that the two began collecting in the fall of 2014.

 

For more information on ‘LAX/DTW: Detroit Hustle II’ and Meggs visit the Thinkspace Gallery website.

Opening Reception of Noségo’s “Ingress” and Drew Leshko’s “The Only Constant”

We kicked off the month with a (third) eye-opening exhibition from  Noségo and Drew Leshko. The colorful dreamscapes from Noségo vibrated on the white walls with bright spirit animals holding within curiosities and stories to encourage our own reflection or simply enjoyment. Leshko continues to document the changing landscape of the hometown of both artists, Philadelphia.  He encapsulates, with great detail, the passage of time and gives meaning to parts of the city’s history that would be soon forgotten at the hands of a bulldozer.

Artist, Joseph Martinez rounds out the exhibitions showing eight pieces from his Designer Bag Lady series in the Thinkspace Gallery office.

All of the exhibitions are on view now through June 29th.

To view available pieces from NoségoDrew Leshko, and Joseph Martinez; please visit the Thinkspace Gallery website.

LAX/DTW II: DETROIT HUSTLE II Opening Reception

Our second exhibition with Inner State Gallery, LAX/ DTW II: Detroit Hustle II opened with a positive reception and buzzing excitement.  The exhibition showed works from over 50 artists in the new contemporary art scene with works ranging from paintings to sculpture. Megg’s interactive installation bridged the gap between observer and artist.  Pieces from the exhibition are now available through 1xRun,  and are on view now through August 26th.

Interview with Noségo for “Ingress”

Thinkspace is proud to present Noségo’s latest body of work Ingress’ in our project room. Noségo’s colorful and detailed paintings that reference themes like urbanism, the vulnerability of nature and the wild, mysticism, healing, mythologies, and art history are mesmerizing and hypnotizing. In anticipation of Ingress, we have an exclusive interview with Noségo to discuss philosophy and creative growth.

SH: What ideas were you exploring while creating this latest body of work?
NG: While working on the show I’ve been in a bit of a reflective period and I feel that the search of a deeper idea of who I am sparked the visual inspiration for the work.

SH: You always aim to challenge yourself with each new body of work, do you feel you experienced any breakthroughs while creating Ingress? Breakthroughs regarding technique, composition – anything.
NG: Yes most definitely, I feel overall I learned not to force what I’m creating and to have patience
with myself and the work.

SH: Your work has a very philosophical element to it. What is your personal philosophy towards life, do you follow any formal philosophical thought?
NG: Yes, I follow several things I’ve learned over time. I think my opening was in high school after reading “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. Overall my personal rule is to always grow and just forever be a student.

SH: You’ve painted murals in cities around the world, I’m sure everyone is special in their own right but did any city have a particularly memorable story?
NG: Each one has a highlight or memorable moments but I don’t recall anything to stand out over another.

SH: What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment in your art career thus far?
NG: Honestly… just having an art career. I try to only do the things I love and I feel being able to do that at the moment is the biggest accomplishment.

SH: What were you listening to in the background while creating this body of work?
NG: Everything from music to podcast and documentaries.

SH: What is your favorite way to unwind after a long day at the studio?
NG: Sleep.

SH: What has recently influenced your creative palate?
NG: Trusting what I think I want to see and experimenting.

 

Join us for the opening reception, Saturday, July 8th from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm