Opening Reception of Fintan Magee’s “The Big Dry” and David Rice’s “Hanging Valley”

Tonight LAX / PDX II opens in Portland, Oregon at Antler Gallery, but last weekend at our home base in Culver City,  Fintan Magee’s “The Big Dry” and David Rice’s “Hanging Valley” opened to a receptive crowd. Much anticipated, Fintan’s install of a ramshackle house adorned with blue lilies sets the stage for his thought-provoking pieces and wall of studies with handwritten anecdotes and observations that inspired the body of work. Then moving into the project room, David Rice’s colorful compositions of narrative introspections delights with bold saturation and thoughtful use of shadows.

Both exhibitions are on view now through June 23rd.

Make sure to visit Thinkspace Projects website to view available works
from “The Big Dry” and “Hanging Valley


Images courtesy of Bryan Birdman Mier

Interview with David Rice for “Hanging Valley”

Thinkspace is proud to present Portland-based artists, illustrator, and designer David Rice’s upcoming exhibition Hanging Valley in the project room. As a realist painter, Rice composes a juxtaposition of elements to create a visual universe that is a fantasy and experiment.  In anticipation of Hanging Valley, our interview with David Rice discusses the shows inspiration, his creative process, and post-show rituals.

Join us for the opening of “Hanging Valley”, Saturday, June 2nd from 6 to 9 pm.

SH: Tell us about this show. What is the inspiration? What were you exploring in the work?

DR: My new show, “Hanging Valley,” was a chance to expand on ideas and narratives that I have been building over the last few years. Each painting in this series represents a piece of my own introspection, portrayed through various subjects. These paintings cover a wide range of themes: self-doubt, confidence, the way we experience time, and other elements that fill my head on a day to day basis. I wanted to explore these themes through different lenses, while also giving the viewer something they may not expect to see from me.

SH: What 3 websites do you check every day or people you follow on social media?

DR: I don’t know if I have an everyday website routine, outside of just checking my email and watching Netflix. I do love to periodically check in on a few of my favorite art blogs:,,,,

SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?

DR: What excites me about my work is the broad range of subjects and themes I choose to paint. Although I may be categorized by some people as an environmental painter, I try not to put all my focus on one subject. Instead, my work covers many different ideas, landscapes, and characters. This leaves me free to paint whatever creeps into my mind, not being held back by an audience that expects me to stick to one thing.

SH: What frustrates you about your work / creative process?

DR: I get frustrated by just about every step in my creative process. I am constantly evaluating every decision. As much of a dream come true it is to create a body of work, it can be extremely difficult to translate your ideas down on canvas. Every element – size, color, etc, has an effect on the impact of the final piece. It is a lot of trial and error, emphasis on the error. I put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself. It’s something I am still working on, but it is getting a little easier to ignore the self-doubt and keep pushing through.

SH: After a show what do you do? Do you take a long break, vacation, a particular ritual? Tell us.

DR: After a show, I always plan on taking a few days to regroup and relax, however, I usually put off so many other projects while I am doing the body of work for the show, I have a stack of things I am already behind on. I will get a break one day (fingers crossed).

SH: How do you plan out your compositions?

DR: I usually start with a photo I have taken as the jumping off point for my compositions. Then I just start to think about what I would want to see in the picture. I have always been a big daydreamer, so my mind just naturally starts playing out little narratives. I then will bring the photo and other references I have gathered into photoshop and illustrator and start to set up the composition. I usually have the piece 75% thought out before I start painting. If I waited till I had it 100% thought out, I would never get anything started. I then paint what I have planned, and let the painting direct the course it wants to go for the final touches, ie. colors, patterns, little additions to help balance the piece.

SH: How often are you in the studio, do you work on the pieces daily or do you have creative spurts with concentrated efforts of work and then long periods of not working?

DR: I am in the studio pretty much every day. I like to do my sketching and designing at home, so I am there about one day a week and the studio the rest of the week.

SH: What do you eat when working on the show? Are you a 3 square meals kind of person, or have snacks on hand?

DR: I usually have a big meal before heading to the studio. Then I just snack while I am there, trying not to take too many breaks while I paint. Then usually a small meal when I get home at the end of the day.

SH: If you were to collaborate with a band or musical artists to create a music video inspired by your artwork, who would you work with?

DR: Oh man, that is a tough question. One of my favorite bands is Alt-J and I feel like their music is on a similar trajectory as my work. They can’t really be put into one category and you never know what their next album is going to sound like.

SH: Has there been an artistic catalyst in your life? Something, someone, some event that made a significant impact on you that has lead you to where you are now.

DR: My family has been incredibly encouraging of my career in art. Since I was a child, my parents have been nothing but supportive of my artistic endeavors. My older brother Andrew was a huge influence on me. He is an artist as well and growing up, I just wanted to follow in his footsteps.

A large turning point for me was when I met up with artist Blaine Fontana in 2013 and began an intensive internship with him. I had never really painted before I met him, and over the next year, he threw me into the fire. Blaine is a true Jack of all Trades, and together we worked on gallery pieces, large commercial paintings, murals, sculptures, design work, and a ton of other projects with varying mediums. Blaine was an invaluable resource in helping get my career off the ground and I am extremely lucky and grateful for the lessons he passed on to me.

SH: What’s in your toolbox? AKA what paints, brushes, tools would we find in your studio? What do you wish was in your studio?

DR: I mostly work in acrylic. I like Golden paints, but there isn’t just one brand I am loyal to. The colors I use the most are titanium white, mars black, yellow ochre/oxide, raw umber, burnt sienna, raw sienna, cad red, primary cyan. I destroy brushes fairly easily, so I try not to get the super fancy brands. I have a few nice flat brushes and varnish brushes, and then I will often buy the cheap pack of six small brushes from the art store for like $8. They usually last me two paintings.

I share a studio with two other artists so together we pretty much have everything one would need. Maybe a beer tap in our kitchen area would be a nice addition.

SH: You have a time machine, and you could do anything / go anywhere for 24 hours, and would not interfere with the space-time continuum. What would you do?

DR: f I had a time machine for a day, I would either go way-way back and spend the day with some dinosaurs, see how close our depictions of them are. Or, I would go into the future and see exactly when we can expect to get our hover cars.

David Rice’s “Hanging Valley” Coming in June to Thinkspace Culver City

Hanging Valley
June 2 – June 23, 2018

Concurrently, on view in the Thinkspace project room is Hanging Valley featuring new works by Portland-based artist, illustrator, and designer, David Rice. Inspired by the potential of unlikely pairings, Rice pushes the limits and boundaries of the physical world through his imagery, accessing a lawless surreal in which patterns merge with physical spaces, human and natural worlds intermingle, and the scale of site and place slide.

A gifted realist painter, Rice’s works combine beautifully rendered flora and fauna with references to cityscapes, architectures, graphic motifs, natural phenomena, and patterns. The juxtaposition of these elements transforms Rice’s visual universe into one of fantasy and experiment. Things that shouldn’t coexist together plausibly do, and the viewer is offered new entry points into otherwise familiar objects and spaces, invited to see them anew through a less restrictive framework and encouraged to forge new relationships to the subject matter.

Rice’s creative free association supports these subtle, and at times not so subtle, shifts in reality. Protean and expansive, his environments are close enough to the real to feel familiar and far enough away to feel transporting and completely unknown.

Opening Reception of SWANK at Thinkspace Gallery

The opening reception of Swank on September 2nd debuted nine artists from the gallery’s roster, whose work and recognition are on the rise. Each brings their own unique stylistic and technical approach to their practice, and though they share loose affinities, the grouping demonstrates the diversity and latitude of the New Contemporary Movement. Michael Reeder, David Rice, Tran Nguyen, Wiley Wallace, Molly Gruninger, Alex Garant, Sean Norvet, Christopher Konecki, and Lauren Brevner were curated by the gallery for this exhibition as promising new voices to watch on their ascent.

 Please visit the Thinkspace Gallery website to view available work from SWANK,

Next Up at Thinkspace Gallery – “Swank” September 2 – 23, 2017

September 2 – September 23, 2017

Thinkspace is pleased to present Swank, a group show dedicated to showcasing nine artists from the gallery’s roster, whose work and recognition are on the rise. Each brings their own unique stylistic and technical approach to their practice, and though they share loose affinities, the grouping demonstrates the diversity and latitude of the New Contemporary Movement. Michael Reeder, David Rice, Tran Nguyen, Wiley Wallace, Molly Gruninger, Alex Garant, Sean Norvet, Christopher Konecki, and Lauren Brevner were curated by the gallery for this exhibition as promising new voices to watch on their ascent. Michael Reeder

Michael Reeder
Dallas-based painter Michael Reeder graduated with a BFA in painting from the School of Visual Arts in New York and works as both a fine artist and freelance graphic artist. Reeder combines figurative references with abstract motifs, graphic patterns, negative space, and an illustrative style to create concise and impactful compositions. Exploring the shifting of identities and the instability of the self as central themes, Reeder uses the portraiture element in his work as an armature around which visual signifiers are hung. The paintings begin with the same reference image of a stranger, rather than a particular individual, to emphasize the general universality of the themes, and to stress the alterable and transfiguring aspects of the human in flux. Reeder taps into a feeling of dislocation and absence as a trope for the volatility of the individual caught in the incoherence and discontinuity of the modern day. Psychologically provocative, Reeder’s paintings are thoughtful deconstructions of the fragmented self.

David Rice
David Rice is a Portland-based artist, illustrator, and designer. Having grown up in rural Colorado, Rice is deeply inspired by nature and its wildlife. The natural world figures prominently as a recurring theme in his detailed works, as he combines the human with the animal in playful and unexpected encounters. By individuating his animals as personified subjects rather than undifferentiated specimens, they take on new symbolic and narrative value as extended metaphors. Geometric patterns and graphic motifs are drawn from textiles and other decorative elements to tie his compositions together. These elements punctuate his works with moments of abstraction while also referencing contained, domestic human spaces in stark contrast to the limitlessness of the wild.

Tran Nguyen
Born in Vietnam, Tran Nguyen emigrated to the US with her family at the age of three. She completed a BFA at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. Interested in exploring the psychologically evocative potential of the surreal, she channels visual dreamscapes as a therapeutic means of investigating the mind’s potential to heal through imagery. Her practice is drawing-based with graphite and pencil figuring prominently in her works on panel as well as on paper. Delicate and softly diffused, highly detailed figurative elements in the works are set against expanses of vaguely defined space. Playing with shifts in scale and context, Nguyen allows her powers of free association to shape and turn her shadowy worlds.

Wiley Wallace
Wiley Wallace completed a BFA in intermedia arts at Arizona State University and an MFA from University of California, Santa Barbara. A painter with a metaphysical interest in surreal worlds and pseudo-science fiction themes, Wallace often depicts his own children as protagonists on the edge of unknown universes. At times eerie and even grotesque and others understated and subtle, his works combine a dizzying array of visual devices to denote suspension, transition, or immersion in alternate realities. At times realistic depictions deliquesce into abstract blurs of bright colors, while at others subtle apparitions make their way into otherwise unassuming everyday scenes. His ambiguous depictions feel like personal meditations on mortality, the existence, and dissolution of boundaries, and the presence, whether literal or philosophical, of worlds beyond.

Molly Gruninger
A graduate of Ball State University, Los Angeles-based Molly Gruninger is interested in exploring themes like camouflage, the contemporary role of technology in our society, identity, and the shifting nature of perception. At first glance, excessively smooth and dimensionally ambiguous, her figurative works appear to be digitally generated. Upon closer inspection, however, they are in fact highly detailed oil paintings on canvas. Exploring the idea of self-ornamentation, and by proxy the excessive nature of materialism and consumption in contemporary society, Gruninger pushes the artificiality of self-adornment to a literal point of complete synthetic conversion. In a compelling inversion of process, Gruninger creates photorealistic depictions of a seemingly digitally generated form, creating a subject that exists in some strange hyper-real limbo.

Alex Garant
Toronto-based artist Alex Garant creates portrait paintings with a combination of hyper-realistic painting techniques and a graphic aesthetic. Garant intends to overwhelm and saturate the viewer’s senses with an optical distortion, creating subjects that seem captured through multiple exposures. Using an alla prima technique in which layers of wet oil paint are applied over top wet under layers and executed in a single sitting, Garant creates hauntingly beautiful figures that seem to actually reverberate with frenetic energy and life, somehow caught off register between temporal dimensions or physical layers of reality.

Sean Norvet
Los Angeles-based artist Sean Norvet attended Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design, graduating with a BFA in 2013. His unique take on portraiture relays a chaotic and satirical mash-up of cultural references. Distorting the human anatomy of his subjects to the point of total obliteration, his portraits become grotesque, clever and playful amalgams of skin, random objects, food, detritus, type, and cartoons, all parodying the more abhorrent and absurd aspects of American life. Norvet’s subjects become literal and observational reflections of their context and periphery. It’s as though the person’s face, identity, and corporeality are engulfed and consumed by the culture in which they’re immersed. Combining a photo-realistic painting technique with an excessively cartoonish and hyperbolic artificiality, Norvet seizes the viewer in a hallucinogenic distortion of portraiture.

Christopher Konecki
Sand Diego-based Christopher Konecki is a self-taught painter, muralist, sculptor, and installation artist. Drawing inspiration from his surrounding environment and an experimental penchant for the creation of new forms, Konecki creates works that harness a feeling of stylistic chaos and strategic balance. Interested in the reuse of found materials, he revitalizes public spaces and castaway objects to elevate them aesthetically and change the perception of their value. Natural imagery figures prominently in Konecki’s work as he explores the intersection of urban manmade spaces and architectures and the ubiquitous prevalence of technology alongside disproportionately scaled wildlife elements. This juxtaposition of worlds highlights their conflicted coexistence in the modern city and the absurdity of their tangential relationships. His palettes are often cool and subdued, an understated stylistic choice that refocuses attention on the dynamic interaction of the compositions’ disparate facets, and synergy of its parts.

Lauren Brevner
Vancouver-based artist Lauren Brevner explores the feminine in her mixed media portraiture. Using oil, acrylic, and resin, she incorporates Japanese chiyogami, yuzen, and washi papers through collage as well as gold and silver leafing, both traditional Japanese techniques, as an homage to her roots. In 2009, she moved to Osaka, Japan, to reconnect with her cultural heritage and ancestry, and this immersion has had a significant impact on her artwork. Inspired by 19th-century Japanese art, as well as Western European Art Nouveau and Symbolist painting of the same period, and modern abstraction of the early 20th century, Brevner’s work feels both contemporary and historically referential. Her use of flattened graphic space is offset by the detail of her delicately rendered portraits. Striving to re-appropriate the vantage point of the “gaze,” her work seeks to counter the objectification of the feminine, empowering her subjects as sensual and self-possessed entities.