Photo Tour of Matthew Grabelsky’s ‘Animal’, Gustavo Rimada’s ‘Florescentia’ and group exhibition ‘TAPAS’ curated by Ken Flewellyn

Thinkspace is pleased to present a photo tour through Matthew Grabelsky’s Animal, group exhibition ‘TAPAS’ curated by Ken Flewellyn, and Gustavo Rimada’s ‘Florescentia.

November 14, 2020 – December 5, 2020

Call to Artist for Surreal Salon 13, Submission Deadline November 28th.

NOW ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS FOR SURREAL SALON 13, CURATED BY THINKSPACE PROJECTS

Baton Rouge Gallery – center for contemporary art (“BRG”) is proud to announce it is now accepting submissions for Surreal Salon 13, the juried exhibition that, in conjunction with The LSU School of Art, celebrates pop-surrealist/lowbrow art. Artists worldwide are invited to be a part of this special exhibition which will be curated by Thinkspace Projects, one of the nation’s leading galleries focusing on pop-surrealist, lowbrow, or “New Contemporary” art. Artists selected for inclusion in the exhibition will be in the running for more than $2,000 in cash prizes as well as an online feature with Juxtapoz

This exhibition will be held from January 5 – 28, 2021 at BRG. During the show’s run, it will be open to the public, free of charge, during normal gallery hours (Tuesday-Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.).

Artists interested in being a part of this unique and exciting exhibition can find more information at batonrougegallery.org/surreal-salon/. Artists working in all media are encouraged to submit up to three (3) works for the juror’s consideration. The deadline for submissions is November 28, 2020. 

Submissions will be reviewed via a blind jurying process that will ensure that works are selected based solely on their artistic merit (the juror will not see an artist’s name until after selections for the exhibition have been made).

The artist whose work is ultimately named “Best in Show” by Thinkspace Projects will be honored in an upcoming juxtapoz.com editorial focusing on the artist behind the work and the piece itself. This artist will also receive a $1,000 cash prize with a $600 prize going to Second Place and a $400 prize going to Third Place. 

Over the years, Surreal Salon has enlisted well-known and well-respected jurors for Surreal Salon – including the co-founder of Juxtapoz Magazine, Greg Escalante and internationally-renowned artists such as Ron English, Camille Rose Garcia, Josh “Shag” Agle, Elizabeth McGrath, Dan Quintana, Casey Weldon, and Greg “Craola” Simkins – to assist in making Surreal Salon as artistically engaging as possible. That tradition is once again renewed with Thinkspace Projects filling this role (thanks in part to a partnership with the Louisiana State University School of Art). Their curatorial team will personally select each work to be included in the exhibition from the submissions received. This represents the first time that Surreal Salon has partnered with a gallery (as opposed to an individual artist).

Video Tour of New Works from Matthew Grabelsky, Gustavo Rimada, and group exhibition ‘TAPAS’ curated by Ken Flewellyn

Thinkspace is pleased to present Matthew Grabelsky’s Animal, group exhibition curated by Ken Flewellyn ‘Tapas, and Gustavo Rimada’s ‘Florescentia.

November 14, 2020 – December 5, 2020

Matthew Grabelsky  – Animal

We are excited to welcome back Matthew Grabelsky for his fifth solo exhibition with our gallery. Animal will feature the largest collection of new oil paintings to date by Los Angeles-based artist Matthew Grabelsky. His works combine a hyperrealistic painting technique with a surreal penchant for unlikely juxtapositions. Raised in New York City, Grabelsky uses its subway’s underground world as the setting for his unlikely pairings.

Grabelsky’s works depict his subjects traveling on subways, often nonchalantly reading magazines or newspapers, while the protagonists in these dyads are strange, quasi-mythological human hybrids with animal heads. Deer, bears, elephants, tigers, and everything in between, make a suited appearance in rush hour. By contrasting the platitudes of the day-to-day with the presence of the extraordinary and unlikely, Grabelsky stages the unexpected within the most unassuming of circumstances. In Animal, the artist’s subjects find themselves coming above ground and exploring city centers and expanding their world view.

The appearance of the animal head feels distantly totemic, an archetype for something primordial, ancient, and psychologically motivated. Fascinated by the persistence of animal imagery in mythology and communal cultural imaginaries, Grabelsky superimposes its presence onto his depictions of the contemporary world. For the artist, the animal becomes a manifestation of the inner workings of the hidden subconscious, literally revealing the latent identities and motivations lurking beyond the composure of the human mask.

Technically inspired by 19th Century academic and naturalist painters, Grabelsky creates these unlikely, surreal scenes with a staggering degree of realistic detail. The contrast created between the visual verisimilitude of the works, and the surreal improbability of their content catches the viewer in a prolonged moment of convincingly suspended disbelief.

View Available Works from ‘Animal’

‘Tapas’ curated by Ken Flewellyn

Tapas showcases a collection of small works from 60 new contemporary artists and marks the curatorial debut of our long time gallery director Ken Flewellyn. We’re excited to give Ken this opportunity and are thrilled with the collection of works he has helped to bring together. All the works in this special exhibition are 8 x 8 inches (20 x 20 cm) or smaller in size. Many of the participating artists have also contributed more than one piece. Much like the show’s namesake, these works may be small in size, but they still pack a powerful punch.

Featuring New Works from:
Arthur Brouthers | ABCNT | Alex Garant | Allison Reimold | AngelOnce | Anthony Clarkson | Ariel Deandrea | Bier en Brood | Bri Cirel | Brian Mashburn | Chloe Becky | Dan Lam | Darcy Yates | Daria Aksenova | Drew Young | Dustin Myers | Erik Siador | Ernie Steiner | Frank Gonzales | Fumi Nakamura | Giorgiko | Goopmassta | Gustavo Rimada | Huntz Liu | Jacub Gagnon | Jessica Dalva | Jolene Lai | Kathy Ager | Kelly Vivanco | Kelsey Livingston | Ken Flewellyn | Lauren Mendhelson-Bass | L. Croskey | Linnea Strid | McKenzie Fisk | Molly Gruninger | Mwanel Pierre-Louis | Naoshi | Nate Seubert | Rachel Strum | Perez Bros | Scott Listfield | Sean Bannister | Sergio Garcia | Sloppy Seconds (aka Kiki Cuyler) | Spenser Little | Steve Martinez | Stephanie Buer | Tati Holt | Telmo Miel | Terry Arena | Vakseen | Wiley Wallace | Yu Maeda | Yusei Abe | Zachary Schoenbaum

View Available Works from ‘Tapas’

Gustavo Rimada  – Florescentia

Florescentia is Gustavo Rimada’s debut solo show at the gallery and will feature seven vividly colored and highly detailed acrylic paintings. Characterized by graphic aesthetics, Rimada often works with bold color palettes and stylized subjects. His paintings intermingle Mexican visuals, art history and contemporary tattoo culture. Mexican born, but California based, this coupling melds the bridge between his ancestral heritage and his current life in the United States. Oftentimes, Rimada can be found portraying his subjects as both historic and cultural icons laced with symbolic and organic elements such as flowers, skeletons and butterflies. A dynamic dance of history, color and representation that beautifully represents the blending and celebration of two cultures becoming one.

View Available Works from ‘Florescentia’

Video by Birdman

Interview with Gustavo Rimada for his exhibition ‘Florescentia’

Thinkspace is pleased to present ‘Florescentia’ the debut solo show of Mexican born, California based artist Gustavo Rimada.

Characterized by graphic aesthetics, Rimada often works with bold color palettes and stylized subjects. His paintings intermingle Mexican visuals, art history and contemporary tattoo culture which become a bridge between his ancestral heritage and his current life in the United States. A dynamic dance of history, color and representation that beautifully represents the blending and celebration of two cultures becoming one.

In anticipation of ‘Florescentia’, our interview with Rimada discusses his time in the army, creative influences, and his favorite tv show/podcast combo.

What was the inspiration behind ‘Florescentia’?

In a tough year, I wanted to be inspired by the idea of blossoming, the idea that we can flourish past any negative aspect of 2020.

Do you have any pre-studio rituals that help you get into a creative flow?

Everyday before getting started I go for a drive listen to my playlist or finish a podcast grab coffee and hit the ground running when I get back to my studio.

What piece challenged you most in this body of work and why? 

The largest painting of the Jaguar was very challenging because it’s so large and I knew I wasnt gonna fill every bit of it , so finding the balance of it not looking bare or too busy was a bit challenging. It was also done at a very stressful part of 2020 and it took me about 3 weeks longer than it should have.

What do you like to play in the background while painting; music, podcasts, other?

I usually don’t listen to any music or podcast while painting. The tv is always on so I am either watching documentaries or some of my favorite series/movies. My absolute favorite show right now is Lovecraft Country and then after each episode, I listen to the 1-hour podcast breaking it down.

Is there an artist or piece of work that has made a significant impact on you? Has that work influenced your own artistic voice/style?

Early on when I first started painting, discovering Juxtapoz & High Fructose was everything! At the time I was living in Alaska and it was unreal to me what was going on back home in LA and seeing all those different works from Mark Ryden, Robert Williams and Todd Shorr was a huge push early on. But as I started diving back into painting I went back to studying Mexican artists like Frida Khalo, Diego Rivera, and my favorite Jorge Gonzales Camarena. They were key to finding myself as an artist.

What was the timeline like from finding out about the #otterthinkspacecontest to submitting your entry?

I always stay super busy, so I was working on commission work/group show paintings. When you said you were giving a small solo I pretty much dropped everything and went for it so from the moment I found out to the day I submitted the piece I worked on it nonstop.

Do you remember what you were doing before you found out you had won the content?

I think I checked my phone and refreshed it every 5 minutes from the time I woke up (lol) but at the time I found out I was on my easel working. After I found out I was running around my house with my family cheering me on! Lol.

Do you think your time in the army informed you creatively or artistically?

My time in the army, unfortunately, did neither it was a creative killer. However, I did realize I needed to do something with my life that didn’t require being in the army. So when I got out I was equipped with a drive that in my opinion is unmatched, I don’t credit the service with any of my artistic abilities but they do get a ton of credit when it comes to pushing myself past what I think are my limits and never taking no for an answer.

We are in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s an unprecedented time, and it’s a weird time – what are you doing to create a sense of normalcy for yourself?

This kinda goes back to the first question, keeping my ritual going and seeing my friends at my coffee spot is a great way for me to feel as if nothing has changed despite us being in this horrific pandemic. To be fair, I am the kind of person who just stays home all day every day so it hasn’t been that difficult for me to abide by the rules. I do feel for people ( essential workers ) during this unprecedented time, we need them more than ever and I try not to take them for granted so I tip fat when I get take out.

If your body of work inspired a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor, what would be the ingredients and name of your pint?

Awe man I am a super boring ice cream consumer lol but my favorite Ben & Jerry’s is “ Americone Dream “ so being of Mexican descent and coming to this country with a suitcase and a dream I would have to tweak that to “ Mexicone Dream ” lol the ingredients would be some banana ice cream, waffle bits, caramel syrup, some coco chocolate bits, and a little magic.

Opening Reception Saturday, November 14th | Guidelines Below

We will be having a public reception this Saturday, November 14 from noon to 6pm. No appointment necessary, but masks will be required at all times and social distancing enforced. Entry will be limited, as we will be sure to watch capacity and make sure no more than a dozen patrons are in the gallery at any given time. We want to assure the health and safety of our artists, staff and patrons.

We will also be offering timed visits each Saturday during the remaining run of the exhibitions. A link to a scheduling platform will be on our site in the week ahead. Please let us know if you have any questions at all. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing some of you this Saturday.

Interview with Matthew Grabelsky for his exhibition ‘Animal’

Thinkspace is pleased to present Matthew Grabelsky’s fifth solo exhibition with us ‘Animal.‘ The show features the largest collection of new oil paintings to date by the Los Angeles-based artist.

Grabelsky’s works depict his subjects traveling on subways, often nonchalantly reading magazines or newspapers, while the protagonists in these dyads are strange, quasi-mythological human hybrids with animal heads. In Animal, the artist’s subjects find themselves coming above ground and exploring city centers and expanding their world view.

In anticipation of the exhibition, our interview with Matthew Grabelsky discusses the vibrant LA art scene, subway reading material, and the influence of growing up in a creative household.

Do you have any pre-studio rituals that help you get into a creative flow?

Not really. I usually get up, take a shower, eat breakfast and am standing at my easel shortly after. Sometimes the work is slow to start and I find I get into a rhythm later on.

How much of the Easter eggs within your compositions are planned versus them coming to you while painting?

There are two phases to my painting process. The first part is the composition when I am figuring out what the overall painting is going to look like.

The second phase is the actual execution. The process of making an oil painting takes a long time. I am there with the piece thinking about it and looking at it over a period of weeks or months. As the painting develops, more ideas come to me that I didn’t think about at first. I will be working on the canvas and think: ¨Oh that would be fun, what if I add this to the scene?”

For example, in this show I have a painting of a monkey walking down the subway platform dressed in a business suit, eating a banana. While I was working on it I thought wouldn’t it be funny if I put a banana peel lying on the platform at a distance behind him as if he had eaten one, tossed the peel on the ground and grabbed another from his briefcase. It’s a small detail but I think it makes the story richer and funnier, and the painting better.

You grew up in a creative household where making a living as an artist was demonstrated to be feasible; at any point did you rebel against the idea of pursuing a career in the arts?

When I was growing up, making art was something I always did and loved but, honestly, I never thought about what my career would be. I didn’t rebel against pursuing art as much as I just didn’t think about a career at all. In high school I became interested in science through one of my uncles who was an astronomer. I pursued astrophysics in college and took art classes for fun. I was accepted into UCLA’s astrophysics graduate program and I deferred for a year so I could study painting in Florence. After a month living and breathing art in Italy I decided I wanted to be an artist and I’ve never looked back.

You’re piece “Here Comes The Sun” is your first piece set in LA; since you’re finally warming up to Los Angeles after eight years, what is your most and least favorite aspects of LA?

I was born in LA and often thought of moving back here. After growing up in NY and living and studying in Europe for 8 years it was time to come home.

The biggest draw for me here is the incredibly vibrant art scene. There are so many amazing artists working in Los Angeles. I bump into them frequently at shows, bars, and art supply stores and they keep me inspired. This community of artists is a great balance to the solitary life of spending many long hours alone painting in the studio.

What is the most challenging part about your characters exiting the subway?

The most challenging question is where are they going to go and what are they going to do. We’ll have to find out.
You will see several of the characters venturing out in my new show.

Aside from time and practice, what has helped you improve and hone your skills as a painter?

I have spent, and continue to spend, countless hours in museums in front of paintings, staring at them, analyzing and attempting to understand how they were painted. Then when I’m at my easel I experiment endlessly with my technique, working to understand and replicate what these masters were doing. Then I add the techniques that I find most useful to my repertoire.

What are three books you’d recommend for reading on the subway, and why? Where were you when you read those books?

I have read tons of books while riding public transportation in NY and the other cities I’ve lived in. Three of my favorites are: In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust; Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman; Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. They are all creative, absorbing, and long so you will have plenty to read.

Is there an artist or piece of work that has made a significant impact on you? Has that work influenced your own artistic voice/style?

For technique and composition one of my top favorites is William Bouguereau. He was a wizard with oil paint and pictorial composition and I have learned a huge amount studying his work. For painting animals I look at Rosa Bonheur. She was one of the greatest animal painters during the 19th century. For concept and mood I love Arnold Böcklin. He painted characters from mythology in very wild, natural ways as if they were real characters who lived amongst us and who you might just happen to run across in your daily life.

Outside of painting, the next biggest influence artistically is film. My favorite film makers are Terry Gilliam, Guillermo Del Toro, and David Lynch. I love how they tell stories that contain fantastical elements but are set in the world we know.

We are in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s an unprecedented time, and it’s a weird time – what are you doing to create a sense of normalcy for yourself?

The biggest thing that has kept me sane during this time has been working for this show. I have been painting for it during the whole pandemic. It has given me a sense of purpose and kept me from losing my mind.

If your body of work inspired a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor, what would be the ingredients and name of your pint?

It would be called Animal Dream and would be made with all the flavors.

Opening Reception Saturday, November 14th | Guidelines Below

We will be having a public reception this Saturday, November 14 from noon to 6 pm. No appointment necessary, but masks will be required at all times, and social distancing enforced. Entry will be limited, as we will be sure to watch capacity and make sure no more than a dozen patrons are in the gallery at any given time. We want to assure the health and safety of our artists, staff and patrons.

We will also be offering timed visits each Saturday during the remaining run of the exhibitions. A link to a scheduling platform will be on our site in the week ahead. Please let us know if you have any questions at all. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing some of you this Saturday.