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


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.


The Space Monkey is Back! James Marshall aka Dalek is Coming this December

We’re beyond excited to announce Dalek is coming to Thinkspace Gallery this December. We will be hosting the return of the Space Monkey in celebration of his 20th anniversary. Thinkspace is honored to welcome James Marshall aka Dalek to our gallery for what promises to be a landmark exhibition. An exhibition that is not to be missed! This December we will be showcasing an array of newly created Space Monkey works alongside classics from his archives. PLUS never before shared early works on paper + new screen printed editions & more. Hot damn. I can’t express my excitement about this show properly in words. I’ve known this man for two decades and this is a dream come true. The Space Monkey is back!

This December we will be showcasing an array of newly created Space Monkey works alongside classics from his archives. PLUS never before shared early works on paper, new screen printed editions, and more. We can’t express our excitement about this show properly in words. In the words of our curator Andrew Hosner, “I’ve known this man for two decades and this is a dream come true. The Space Monkey is back!”

Coming In March – Atsuko Goto’s ‘The Silence of Idols’

Atsuko Goto
The Silence of Idols
March 4, 2017 – March 25, 2017

Concurrently on view in the Thinkspace project room are new works by emerging Japanese artist Atsuko Goto; The Silence of Idols is the artist’s first solo project with the gallery. A graduate of the Tokyo University of the Arts, Goto also studied at the National School of Fine Arts in Paris.

The artist creates beautifully melancholic images of delicate figures cloaked and merged with natural elements, everything from flowers and butterflies to insects, birds, and fish. Her muted palette is as ghostly as haze, achieved through the unique application of diluted pigments made from semi-precious lapis lazuli, ink, and gum arabic applied to cotton.

Inspired by Japanese Shinto and the belief that nature is animated by divinity and sacred spirits harbored in every living and inanimate thing, Goto creates imagery that conveys this feeling of profuse life force and intangible mystery, offset by a darker suggestion of mourning and lament. Quietly meditative, her works exude a dreamlike calm and resignation despite their abundance of detail and the density of her compositions. Silence and forlorn composure define this existence of the preternatural.

Fragile in their tempered darkness, the works are subtle and near translucent – like the unknown light and strange optics of an otherworldly plane where everything is unsubstantial. A feeling of entrapment and isolation persists, however, in the quietude. Like hauntings from the subconscious, the paintings feel like faded dreams, surreal distortions bordering on the ominous. Unsettling, the muted beauty of these diaphanous idols loom, uncannily caught in a thin veil between worlds.

Next Up at Thinkspace Gallery – Fuco Ueda’s “Odd-Eye”

Fuco Ueda

Fuco Ueda
Odd Eye

Opening Reception:
Sat., December 10th 6-9PM

On view December 10th – December 31st

Thinkspace is pleased to present its second solo exhibition of works by Japanese artist Fuco Ueda in Odd Eye. The Tokyo-based Ueda creates surreal paintings of enigmatic girls in strangely beautiful incandescent dreamscapes. With larger than life flowers and creatures ranging from moray eels to butterflies, her paintings are like apparitions pulled from the shadowy depths of the subconscious. Her mischievous adventurers are innocent and devious, at times playful and others sinister, suspended somewhere between the waking world and the beyond. An inscrutable universe of lush neon chrysanthemums and florid skins, Ueda’s world is a hallucinatory daydream.

Ueda’s works convey the lonely meditative feeling of dreams, a world set apart from the existence of others and self-sustained by isolated dread and reverie. At times a darkness pervades with recurring symbols like skeletal hands and the fiery orbs, or hitodama, of Japanese folklore, thought to be the souls of the dead. Another recurring symbol that figures prominently in her works is the chrysanthemum, also a symbol of loss, death, and vulnerability. These surreal apparitions reinforce a sense of displacement and transience. Her lithe figures, often charged with a cryptic eroticism, dissolve into the webs of these conjured worlds; like figments crossing over into ghostly recesses.

The tone of Ueda’s works tends to shift towards a lighter and more whimsical extreme as well. Her girls are often surrounded by small birds, butterflies, underwater creatures, beribboned pets, and dazzling flora, in dreamily abstracted landscapes that seem to glow and hum with weird life. The combination of these light and dark extremes is often unexpected, and psychologically evocative. Beautifully illustrated girls drip with honey and bare skinned knees, while snakes, fish, cobwebs, and bright fungi surround and shroud them. Contrasts abound in her choice of palettes as well, with the mixture of deeply pigmented hues, dark blacks, bright neons and iridescent pastel purples and blues.

Working primarily with acrylic paints and powdered mineral pigments on canvas, paper, and wood, Ueda dilutes her acrylics to create the consistency of watercolor. The unique quality of her surfaces is both chalky and luminous owing to this technique. Self-admittedly, Ueda is personally attached to her works, and her process is ultimately tantamount to a loss, preparing each for release into the world with the sprinkling of water as an acknowledgment of its completion and passing. We are left with the sense that Ueda’s world is in a constant state of transition and contraction, emerging and receding through the stitches of tenuously bound worlds.



Audrey Kawsaki’s “Interlude” & Stella Im Hultbergs “Hollow Resonance” are on view now through December 3rd.



Next Up at Thinkspace Gallery : Sandra Chevrier exhibition “The Cages; and the Reading Rooms of their Lives”

Sandra Chevrier

The Cages; and the Reading Rooms of their Lives
October 15 – November 5, 2016

 Thinkspace is pleased to present new works by Sandra Chevrier in the gallery’s first solo exhibition for the Canadian artist, The Cages; and the Reading Rooms of their Lives. Based in Montréal, Chevrier creates mixed media works that combine sensuously rendered portraits of women with painted and collaged comic book overlays of superheroes. Manifold graphic segments and tear aways are used to obscure the facial features and bodies of her subjects partially. These iconographic images of conflict and struggle are posted over the contours of the flesh to create endlessly nuanced combinations, both heroic and dystopian in their allusions. Chevrier creates beautifully strange alloys of body and print to convey a personal terrain beset by social conflict.

In the artist’s Cages series, the vulnerable and human is offset by images of the superhero in varying situations of compromise, fragility, and struggle. The collision of identities both imperfect and paladin, suggests a conflicted and difficult vision of femininity; one colonized by competing ideals and expectations. Plastered both literally and figuratively with an illustrative veneer of superhuman archetypes and ideals, at times themselves in a state of injury or defect, Chevrier’s women become embattled vessels containing a host of incongruous roles. Her paintings are visually moody and dark, in spite of the primary colors and illustrative pictorials, and convey a depth and discomfort that resonates.

Sandra Chevrier

Chevrier creates what she refers to as “masks” and “cages” from these comic book excerpts, exploring both the external dictates and self-imposed restrictions to which the feminine is subject. Her confine metaphor of scripted identity problematizes the reductive social roles ascribed to women. Chevrier works with a combination of acrylic, watercolor, graphite, china ink, pastels, and collage to create complex sequences of imagery. Each portrait is developed intuitively and offers a simultaneity of scripts: heroism and weakness, beauty and imperfection, order and chaos, revelation and withholding. Chevrier is interested in the flaws in these narratives and seeks comic book references that capture moments of vulnerability and contention: failures in the hero and chinks in his otherwise unassailable armor.

A constant dance takes place in these works. Fiction bleeds in and out of reality, and several competing narratives obscure the identity of the subject. Ultimately, the imaginary and the real are equally unreliable in their deceptions and Chevrier’s portraits capture the multidimensional mire of this human fraudulence. The constant pressure to perform clearly defined roles is at odds with our true nature: we are all heroes and villains, successes and failures. Each face, each body and each self is a patchwork of conflicting stories.

Sandra Chevrier

Sandra Chevrier

Sandra Chevrier

Upcoming at Thinkspace Gallery Kwon Kyung-Yup’s Solo Exhibition “Melancholia”

Juxtapoz Kwon Kyung-Yup

Kwon Kyung-Yup: Melancholia
April 30, 2016 – May 21, 2016

Thinkspace Gallery is pleased to present Melancholia, the gallery’s first solo exhibition of paintings by Korean artist Kwon Kyung-Yup. A graduate of Sejong University in Korea, where she completed an M.F.A, Kwon is currently based out of Seoul. Known for her pale ghostly paintings of delicately rendered figures, the artist uses the human body in her imagery as a vehicle for healing, mourning, and memory. Meditative in their starkness and otherworldly in their filmy delicacy, her figurative depictions are cathartic and emotional, suggesting both trauma and recovery, forgetting and remembering.

Kwon’s figures seem suspended in time, arrested in a sort of ageless androgyny. They are beautiful, and yet unspecific, functioning more like symbolic emblems than individual subjects. When creating her work she describes a process of emotive recall in which she revisits emotional events from her past, actively summoning memories to inspire the work. The figure becomes a literal instrument of psycho-spiritual expression through which she explores universally relatable, though intensely personal, themes of femininity, sexuality, death, libidinal impulse, transformation, and ego. The human body becomes a poetic device through which Kwon explores existential drives and deficiencies.

The artist describes her paintings as meditative spaces in which she depicts longing, sadness, and fantasy. A deliberate slowness and calm are typical of their tone and pace. A single figure, minimally adorned, tends to occupy the focus of the foreground. Surrounded by a still expanse of emptiness, there are few other details, if any, to distract from the complete presence of the form. The viewer is left feeling captivated, drawn in by the concise simplicity of the image, submerged in its heavy quietude. The figures’ skins convey a nuanced depth and pallor, an impressive range of gradation and muted color that resonates through several thin, carefully applied, layers of oil paint. Kwon’s attention to the translucent rendering of these milky skins, and the contrast she creates with subtly bloodshot eyes and carefully stylized features transports the figurative realism in her work beyond the realm of naturalism. The figures are excessively human in their pristine vulnerability, and yet entirely other, emotionally charged, and surreal.

At times, the bodies depicted in Kwon’s works are wrapped in bandages, caught somewhere between life, trauma, death, and convalescence. This space of ambiguity in which the self is suspended somewhere between a beginning and an end is a recurrent theme in her work. Measured and introspective, Kwon’s process is thoughtful rather than reactive, and each piece takes up to two months to complete. She begins her paintings in a contemplative state, a literal meditation aided by conscious breath work, and carefully allows the surface to live, extracting wraiths from the void.

kwon kyung-yup melancholia

Interview with Brian M. Viveros for ‘Matador’

Brian Viveros Matador

A Sour Harvest (SH) interview with Brian M. Viveros (BV), discussing his creative process, thoughts on past work, and what to expect at his upcoming exhibition ‘Matador’ opening at Thinkspace Gallery, Saturday, November 7th.

SH: What does a day in the studio look like? What time do you get up and get in there?
BV: Every day is something new waiting to unfold. I’m an early bird, and don’t need much sleep. I always feel like if I can get the day started really early, I have a better jump on it and what it has to offer. I feed my dogs, make my coffee, and am in the studio by 7am. I usually put music on first thing, and maybe a documentary or weird, surreal film to get the day started in the studio. I like a lot of sounds and things going on around me in my
periphery to keep my mind busy while I work.

SH: What is your creative process and how has it evolved over the years?
Everything starts from a sketch, or from written ideas I have. I gather up a lot of different reference materials, or use new helmets or things I’ve gathered from flea markets, to start visualizing the beginning of a new character. Over the years, I’ve accumulated a lot of go-to ideas and sketches of things I want to paint, so now it’s just a matter of getting to each one and reworking it until it feels right.

Brian Viveros Matador

SH: Your technique improves with each new piece and you can see how you’re constantly pushing yourself. How do you feel when looking at older work, do you love the piece or do you want to go back to them and work on them more?
BV: I like this question, looking at older work brings a smile to my face. When revisiting my older paintings, I can see myself as I was, working at that time, working really hard and trying to make something significant happen. I can see myself believing in what I was doing, and having my own self-driven agenda, not giving a fuck about anything else. Sure, they could’ve been done better, but that’s the beauty of looking back on older works; you see how much you’ve grown and learned, and how you might have approached it now. I wouldn’t change a thing about them though. I like to embrace my
past efforts, they’re an integral part of a larger journey.

SH: In an interview you stated you have a collection of human skulls, where did you acquire those?
BV: From someone I used to work with actually. I guess the wife didn’t want the guy to have human skulls around the house and figured I’d be someone who’d be interested in taking them off his hands. I was >;-) He came to the right person! I’ve always been fascinated with death and its relics, I’m a big fan of skulls, remains, and bones, all that dark wonderful stuff. They’re so great for reference, and to talk to >;-)

Brian Viveros Matador

SH: What are your favorite brushes and paints right now?
BV: My brushes right now are Princeton Select Filbert size 2,4, and 6 and Grumbacher size 1 and 2 round. Paints would have to be Old Holland oil paints and some Liqutex acrylics

SH: What do you do when you feel you’re in a creative dry-spell? Where do you turn for sources of inspiration can you be specific about a recent source of inspiration?
BV: I turn to flea markets, old antique or military stores for objects and anomalies to inspire new work. Recently, I was at the Long Beach flea market and found these amazing big bull horn caps. They’re very rare and hard to find, and actually ended up being key elements in bringing my ‘Bullheaded’ sculpture to life – an exciting new sculpt made in collaboration with Pretty-In-Plastic, to be unveiled as part of the upcoming exhibition on Nov. 7th. The horns were also the inspiration for a new helmet motif, and for the largest
charcoal rendering, Battlefield, in the upcoming show, in which the character dons this amazing helmet with oversized horns, walking strong through her own personal Battlefield.

Brian Viveros Matador

SH: You’re releasing a new book, The Dirtyland documenting 18 years of work, can you tell us a little about the process of picking the content for the book and how the project all came about?
BV: Well, the whole undertaking of a book was clearly going to be a lot of work. To be honest, I actually wasn’t sure how it was all going to come to life, it just seemed so overwhelming in the abstract, but I did feel like it was the right time to take it on. I’ve worked with Thinkspace for many years now, and we’ve always talked about doing a book, but this year it just seemed like everything fell into place and the timing was right; it turned out that mine would be the first book ever published by Thinkspace Editions.

I’ve always been good at documenting and photographing my work, so that did make it easier, as the records and the visuals were already in place. We decided to just organize everything by year in a kind of chronological retrospective. Narrowing things down actually wasn’t too hard, and we pretty much got all of the key pieces in there. I’m a big collector of books myself, so I had a preconceived idea in place for how I wanted it to feel and what I wanted to show. The hard part was getting some of the image files organized, and ensuring we had the right dpi for some older files, but all the meat was
there, so to speak, we just had to lay it all out on the table and see what worked best on the bones.

It turned out to be amazing, and I’m so happy to share it with all of you at the
opening of Matador on Nov. 7th, before anyone else sees it!

Brian Viveros Matador

SH: Its been 5 years since you took over Thinkspace Gallery with your Dirtyland armme, what can people expect from this new takeover?
BV: People can expect more personal inclusions, alongside my signature elements. The work has evolved with an all new color palette, incorporating greater contrasts and even some pastel hues. I’ve included a great deal of detailing, drawn from bullfighting culture and its textiles and designs. I put more time into each piece, perfecting these ornate details, and it all ties in with the overarching theme of the show.

I’m also going to be sharing some pieces and reference materials from my personal collection, like my original bullfighter jacket from the 30’s – a beautifully detailed piece, executed entirely by hand – and also an installation of some of my signature helmets, including the helmet from the OG DirtyLand, the EVILLAST boxing headgear, and my custom Bull Horned helmet and crown of thorns…ouch!

Brian Viveros Matador

SH: Your work is so distinctive and has developed a cult following and strong collector demand, does this pressure ever get to you? Do you still get artist self-doubt?
BV: Sometimes. I mean I’m very hard on myself in everything I do. I think that I may even generate my own sense of pressure>;-) Those that know me, know that I’m a very passionate person when it comes to my art and projects, you have to be. You have to literally want to die for it. I don’t indulge in self-doubt, I just keep moving forward, and quite honestly, I really don’t think about it. I just think about what’s next and what needs to get done. No time for self-doubt. I try to be very confident and strong in what I believe in and keep it going, always trying to improve. Pressures will always be there, things will
be good and sometimes things will go bad, but you just gotta keep making art and not think about any of those things.

SH: What advice would you give artists who look up to? Whats the best advice you’ve been given about life? About your career?
BV: Work hard, don’t sleep and stay focused. The best advice about life is really to follow your dreams and go after that goal. Set a vision, see it, and make it happen, undeterred. Career – early on I was taught to treat my art as a business, and “take it really fucking serious,” in those words. Don’t let people walk all over you.

Brian Viveros Matador

SH: You’re from the Inland Empire, which in Southern California, tends to have a bad rap. What do you love about the IE? Does it or has it influenced
your creative voice?
BV: What do I love about the IE? Tios Tacos. Has it influenced my creative voice? No.

SH: Any plans to get behind the lens again soon?
BV: Yes, it’s time. There are some things going on right now, projects percolating, but at the moment, it’s really about this show. I’ll keep you posted though, lots in the works. But yes, I do plan to get back behind the lens again, it’s where I feel most comfortable.

SH: Upcoming projects you care to share?
BV: The inclusion of my work at SCOPE New York, in 2016, and working on that new film.

Brian M. Viveros’s, ‘Matador’ Thinkspace takeover opens this Saturday, November 7th from 7-10pm. Book signing with Brian will take place from 5:30pm – 7pm. For the official press release and more information please visit the Thinkspace Gallery website

Brian Viveros Matador