Took It Easy
On view June 27 – July 18
Collector Preview will be shared on June 22
English, Paris-based illustrator and artist Ermsy takes the popular cartoons of his childhood and reimagines them as irreverent appropriations. Fascinated by American pop culture as a readily accessible, visual vernacular, Ermsy’s take on its beloved illustrated characters is both satirical and participatory. These adult-themed bastardizations of Garfield, Loony Tunes, The Simpsons, and the like, are simultaneously elated and anarchic in their absurd display of debauchery like tendencies.
Using familiar characters provides Ermsy with a set of pre-established imaginative boundaries within which to work. Like a hot-boxed descent into an alternate universe of nostalgic psychotropic Saturday morning cartoons, his world is a playful subversion of familiar, pop cultural fodder. “I love pop culture,” Ermsy explains, “and I love exploring it.” His graphic exploration of pop culture uses popular cartoons in the same way that graffiti writers use letters. “Using well-known characters provides me with a base point, a frame to work within,” he explains. “With graffiti, the idea is to pick some letters from the alphabet, then go crazy with them or do whatever you want. Everybody starts with the same base point, and that’s graffiti. My starting point is to use characters in my artwork.”
LAUREN HANA CHAI
The Little Death
On view June 27 – July 18
Collector Preview will be shared on Monday, June 22
Lauren Hana Chai was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii being the first of her family to be born in the United States. Raised by her grandparents who are from South Korea, she grew up with dual cultures: Very traditional with a Korean lifestyle at home, while at the same time being immersed in the western world outside. In 2010, Lauren moved to San Francisco to attend the Academy of Art University and graduated in 2015 with her BFA in painting. Lauren uses unconventional mediums with mixed media as well as working with her first love, oils. The mixed media brings together different elements which is a reflection of her identity. She paints issues such as taboo, the Korean cultural trait han, history, the clash of traditional and modern, east and west, and the struggle for balance in between. Lauren adds: “The Little Death is a play between sex and death, the desire to live forever but also the inevitable return of our bodies to nature. I was raised by my grandparents and as they are now near death, they talk about leaving this world all the time. When I think about their death, I think about the entirety of their lives, how they lived it, what actions and decisions they did or did not make. I also see their different emotional reactions to it, my grandma: ready to face death and leave this earth, my grandpa: absolutely terrified but does not want to admit it. I reflect on how I want to live my life and how I want to face death in the end through this series with most of my models being people I know or myself. The different stages of decomposition of the bodies are portrayed as an abstract beautiful mess rather than something to be disgusted or fearful of. The symbols I paint frequently, such as the Korean peach and sacred fungus, are tied to symbols of longevity in Korean classical folk paintings. Back then, these paintings were accessible only to the high class but I paint these symbols today for everyone to enjoy, and I truly feel that I am giving my blessings to the person I am painting. More than just an image, it is an energy. The sacred fungus in particular was highly sought after and emperors would send out troops to look for it in the Korean mountains. It was truly believed to give one eternal youth. Today we take psychedelics as a way to transcend our shared human fate. Procreating is also a temporary transcendence of death and ultimately transcending it in the future as well by passing on DNA. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid of death, but there is an invisible thread that links us to our past and connects us to our fellow humans and the rest of nature. This thought alone helps me see my little death as a part of the bigger universe and I feel a little less scared.”
Mother Earth: We Are All One
On view June 27 – July 18
Collector preview will be shared on Monday, June 22
We’re proud to share that our family of creatives are coming together for a very special group show, that will help shine a light on topics currently at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts.
Mother Earth: We Are All One will bring together 63 artists, all of whom have been asked to work within the same space confines of 12×12 inches (30×30 cm) and to take into consideration the general state of our Mother Earth and how much we have scarred her for our own gain and how many specifies of animals have gone extinct due to our constant advancement and taking over of lands near and far.
We’ve asked them all to also consider how the current pandemic has so clearly illustrated that we are all in this together, and when we work together as one, anything is possible. To single out any one person due to their race, religion or sexual orientation is an archaic way of thinking that needs to be abolished. Fundamentalist extremism has been rearing its ugly head all around the world over the last couple of years, and it needs to be stopped.
A portion of the proceeds from this special exhibition will be donated to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the name of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd to help fight systemic racism. A portion will also be donated to our longtime partners at Born Free USA to help them in their goals of ensuring that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs.
Artists Taking Part:
Collin van der Sluijs
Eduardo F. Angel
Erica Rose Levine
Erik Mark Sandberg
Hanna Lee Joshi
Lauren Hana Chai
Roos van der Vliet