Giorgiko and Reen Barrera showing at The Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum | September 9, 2022 to January 29, 2023

The Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum and Thinkspace Projects are proud to present:

Dark Matter

On view September 9, 2022 to January 29, 2023 in the SRP Room

Opening Reception: Friday, September 9 from 6-10pm

Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum
One East Main Street
Mesa, Arizona 85211

Dark Matter explores the invisible forces behind the decisions we make and the narratives we create. The dark matter hypothesis proposes that 85% of all matter in the universe is unseen. Astronomers have observed that galaxies seemingly do not have enough mass to account for the gravitational forces needed to hold them together in clusters. However, there is evidence of a nearly undetectable, or “dark” matter that generates binding forces in the universe while remaining a complete mystery.

In their new body of work, the artist duo Giorgiko play with the idea that a significant percentage of our lives may be made of a different “dark matter”, one of untold stories, hidden agendas, and powerful feelings; which plays an equally significant force on our lives and our relationships with others. With so much unknown, what is perceived with the senses may only reveal a part of the story. Through seven oil paintings and 13 special edition sculptures, Giorgiko invites viewers to consider what we really know, what we don’t, and the mystery that holds us all together when, theoretically, we should be flying apart.

About the artists:

Giorgiko (pronounced jee-OR-jee-koh) is the product of a collaborative experiment between Darren and Trisha Inouye melding minimal, expressive character illustration with large-scale classical painting. Conceived in 2012, the Giorgiko universe is home to lost boys and wayfaring girls, and explores the stories of their wanderings and their dreams of being found again. Urban and classical youth are portrayed in city and nature scenes as part of their journeys through the world.

The husband-and-wife team first met while studying art at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. Darren was attracted to Trisha’s authenticity and quirkiness, while Trisha was drawn to Darren’s dashingly good looks. Trisha hails from a Korean immigrant family in the San Francisco Bay area and was noticed at an early age for her talent in drawing. She brings a cuteness and sweet innocence to Giorgiko’s characters. Meanwhile, Darren is a 4th generation Japanese- American from Los Angeles who fell in love with hip hop dancing and graffiti in his youth, and the underground influence is evident throughout the Giorgiko universe. Darren and Trisha’s work blends street and cute to create relatable images for wanderers of all ages.

Darren and Trisha are parents to identical twin boys who keep the young artists occupied with finger foods and baby babble. Their greatest accomplishment to date is keeping their children alive.

Children of Divorce

On view September 9, 2022 to January 29, 2023 in the Project Room

Opening Reception: Friday, September 9 from 6-10pm

Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum
One East Main Street
Mesa, Arizona 85211

There is an idiom that says “it’s written all over your face,” which gave me an idea that regardless of what we say, our true feelings can still be emancipated by our facial expressions. For me, it’s a silent way of communicating something without noise. It’s where I find the inspiration
to literally remember those facial expressions and create artwork out of it. This mix of facial expressions with different symbols and patterns have led to the development of characters known as “ohlala” dolls.

We humans have the same mold. We all have the same attributes. What differentiates us is the circumstances that we were born into. And one thing that I want to emphasize is the amount of detail each ohlala artwork has. Like humans, some have little while some have more.

In many of my works, I discreetly take on socio-economic classes. Some people are born rich, some are born middle

class, some are born poor. But the common ground for everyone is, we all have to deal with it.

I cover all the ohlala dolls heads with canvas cloth to give a freedom to paint their own symbols on their heads; as if they are designing their own fate. I guess that’s what we all have in common; the power to make things happen for ourselves.

Acrylic, oil, and aerosol paint are my choice of medium in painting. Many times, I let accidents like drips, smudges and splatter help me to decipher what to do next. I start with very loose abstract figures to overcome the fear of an empty canvas staring at me.

In this collection of work, I try to become as personal as possible, using ohlala as my main character to depict some of my experiences that led me to where I am right now as an artist.

About the Artist:
Born in Paris, France, Filipino artist Reen Barrera didn’t have a lot of toys during his childhood in the 90s. He vaguely remembers owning two or three action figures but considers himself a “toy deprived” kid. Out of sheer boredom, he started repurposing materials, like wood and fabric, into mixed media figuartive sculputures and paintings.

Barrera studied fine arts and majored in advertising in college. Before becoming a full-time working artist in 2014, his professional work consisted of sculpting bobble-head portraits, graphic design and illustration. He has shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions all over the world. He currently lives in the Philippines.