What an awesome opening night this past Saturday at Thinkspace Projects. We love to see so many art lovers and collectors supporting and enjoying such a wonderful group of artists as they show off their work. It was an absolute blast, thank you for coming out to support and celebrate with us.
Big shout out to all of this month’s exhibiting creatives as well, we do this all for you and we are blessed to be able to do so. Thank you.
Don’t miss these great new collections on display through July 29th. Visit us Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 6pm. Please note the Dog House Gallery and our courtyard are only open for viewing on Saturdays. Free and open to all.
Exhibition on view July 8 – July 29, 2023 at:
Thinkspace Projects 4207 W. Jefferson Blvd. + 4217 W. Jefferson Blvd. Los Angeles, California 90016
Thinkspace is excited to present Reen Barrera ‘Emotional Meat‘ where he explores the contemporary generation’s frantic demand for struggles and hustles. As many are fixated on succeeding, motivated by individualistic rationalities, often a disregard for the important aspect of one’s existence comes to light. With an array of new works on canvas alongside a new collection of his signature hand made sculptures, Barrera has created a show that is light and playful, while brimming with profound meaning and deep emotion.
Our interview with Reen shares his favorite dolls, growing up with grandma in Manila, about his favorite collectables and more!
What was the inspiration behind this latest body of work? What themes were you exploring?
I have a realization upon creating the theme/title “Emotional Meat” that without emotion we are just a bunch of meat trying to eat each other, and it’s just fascinating that us humans having this skill called emotion helps us gauge life in a more interesting way.
What was the most challenging piece in this exhibition? How did it help you grow as an artist?
In my career as an artist, I was first a sculptor, and it requires studies and planning before creating one. What’s challenging for me is painting, it’s like every canvas is a page on a diary, more like a subconscious confession. And at the end of every piece I learn something about my self and my surroundings.
Have you ever deep-dived and researched dolls from other cultures? If so, do you have a favorite type of doll?
I haven’t really delved into cultural dolls, thanks for reminding me, I will do research on that. About choosing what’s my favorite, it’s the Japanese dolls, one thing it’s always on display at our local surplus stores, and my aunt’s house who use to work in japan own a lot of these dolls, Like my dolls they posses a simple facial expression, but carry a lot of meaning.
What part of the Philippines did you grow up in? What was your community and surrounding area like? How does it differ from where you live and work today?
I grew up in Manila, raised by my grandma. As a homebody, my only playground is inside our small apartment filled with hoarded items by my grandma thus making me enjoy using cloth, wood etc. as a medium. Now I hoard things too in my present studio, my grandma must be proud.
Do you have any rituals or practices that help you overcome internal struggles or navigate excessive outside stressors?
Just the process of doing it right away without any need to be inspired has always worked for me, and also a good night sleep makes my head clear.
When you quit your day job and decided to work on your art full-time, what was the decision-making process like leading up to that moment? How did you prepare for that shift?
I ask my father first for advice/help that I would like to try art as a full time career for a year, and if ever I need financial help he promised to support me. I thank the gods of arts that I survived that year without bothering my father. I was lucky because I met the right people, and will be forever grateful to them.
Have you treated yourself to a Lego set yet? What are your favorite art collector toys?
I don’t have a lego set yet, but I got addicted to dragon balls and Ultraman figures.
Watching films is one way you recharge your creative batteries. Can you recommend three movies that should be on our to-be-watched list?
Any good Marvel/DC movies I rewatch if I need to recharge, then while working, King of the Hill or Southpark is on repeat, helps me keep the stress level low.
You’ve shared that the bravery of the ideas of Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Choe, and Cecile Perra has helped you move beyond your comfort – can you elaborate on the philosophical principles of these artists that have moved you?
One thing that they have in common is having a strong personality and they are honest with their work in my opinion, knowing their stories and what they stand for is enough for the young me to be moved and be fired up to tell my story through art.
Exhibition on view July 8 – July 29, 2023 at: Thinkspace Projects 4217 W. Jefferson Blvd. Los Angeles, California 90016
Reen Barrera returns to Thinkspace Projects with his latest solo show, marking his biggest undertaking to date, both with the gallery and in his career thus far. With an array of new works on canvas alongside a new collection of his signature hand made sculptures, Barrera has created a show that is light and playful, while brimming with profound meaning and deep emotion.
With Emotional Meat, Barrera explores the contemporary generation’s frantic demand for struggles and hustles. As many are fixated on succeeding, motivated by individualistic rationalities, often a disregard for the important aspect of one’s existence comes to light.
Imploring audiences to find their true pack, embrace family–whether chosen or genetic–Barrera reminds us to take a break from the grind and pay attention to what is truly important.
“The memories, events, and essences that surround our lives that are often ignored are the ones that usually should be given importance. To hold dear with all our might.”
In line with his previous work, Barrera has taken the idiom “it’s written all over your face” to heart and beyond, crafting his work around a central character he created early on in his career as an artist. Ohlala embodies Barrera’s thoughts, displaying them through a variety of colors painted on the being’s face. This serves as a mechanism to silently communicate, focusing on the unspoken rather than what is loud and clear.
About Reen Barrera Inspired by his “toy deprived” childhood, Filipino artist Reen Barrera repurposes found materials into mixed media figurative sculptures and paintings. The facial expressions and symbols and patterns in the artist’s Ohlala characters are drawn from the idiom “it’s written all over your face” and represent the power individuals have in designing their own fate. Barrera’s work provides a provocative conversation on the challenges of socio-economic circumstances and classism.
Toronto-based Sarah Joncas returns to Thinkspace Project, having first exhibited with the gallery in 2009 when she was only 19 years old. Since then, her accomplished work has developed technically and conceptually, garnering international attention for its moody stylization and emotive impact. Now, she brings Upon Another Shore, her latest collection of works displaying primarily female subjects that function as alter egos or symbolic avatars for social, psychological, and personal themes.
In this show, the figurative becomes a vehicle for more existential and constructivist emphases, an armature around which to posit narrative suggestions and symbolic inferences. Always striving to create a moment of discomposure or tension in her works, Joncas aestheticizes with melancholy and melodrama, tapping into an emotionally charged visual spectrum.
Highly refined areas of figurative rendering, like the lush skin tones she achieves with oils, are combined with elements of a more graphic sensibility, executed in acrylics, to establish compelling visual tensions between realistic dimensional space and flattened stylization, which nods to her roots in illustration and animation. An early interest in animé and manga, as well as in those neo-noir cinematic references aforementioned, helped to galvanize Joncas’ interest in character-based works.
Often posited in heightened emotional contexts, her protagonists are framed by suspenseful allusions to an overarching story or caught in the midst of ambiguous or invisible unfolding scenes. This penchant for plot, mystery, and symbolism is captured in moments of dynamic stillness in which action is both suggested and seized. The surrounding elements in her works, whether animals, objects or patterns, take on concomitant meanings, further reinforcing the larger thematic intimations of her works.
About Sarah Joncas Sarah Joncas was born in 1986 and grew up in both Hamilton and Niagara Falls, Ontario. Her interest in the visual arts developed at an early age, starting with the dedicated drawings of dinosaurs and lizards. Eventually the study and enjoyment of working from existing images stirred up the need in Sarah to create images of her own; ones that could reflect the world, yet also appease the personal feelings/ideas that she maintained. With this, her direction changed gradually from the world of animation, towards a path in fine art. Sarah graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design’s BFA program. She currently resides and works out of Mississauga, Canada.
Thinkspace is excited to present new work by Benzilla, born Parinya Sirisinsuk. Alter Ego challenges boundaries, ignites contemplation, and humbly invites viewers to explore the intricate complexities of our world.
With his signature 3-eyed alien “LOOOK,” Benzilla guides viewers through an exploration of paradox. Within the depths of each of us exists both the fiercest enemy and the most loyal companion. In these works that span mediums, Benzilla urges viewers to engage in a conversation with their inner selves, listening intently for answers.
As he explains “Through introspection, we shall uncover the essence of who we strive to become and what we yearn to achieve in this extraordinary journey called life.”
Weaving together traditional painting, spray paint, and graphic art, Benzilla welcomes audiences to delve into the realm of curiosity and embark on an enlightening journey through the artistic.
About Benzilla Parinya Sirisinsuk, aka Benzilla, born in Bangkok, Thailand, is a graduate of Fine and Applied Art from Bangkok University, who has found profound inspiration in the realms of Pop Culture, Street art, Mythology, and Sci-Fiction Guided by the character “LOOOK,” 3 eyes alien that presents a concept of perspective of an outsider, Parinya combines the techniques of craft painting, spray painting, and graphic art to craft a mesmerizing narrative.
Spime brings her intuitive paintings of varying scale to Thinkspace Projects with Fish Out of Filtered Water. She embeds and juxtaposes personal imagery of the present, while critically engaging with the culturally and emotionally determined actions of the past.
In Fish Out of Filtered Water, Spime marks the inception of an idea with the inclusion of works on paper. For Spime, fragmented drawings are a reflection of progress in an accelerating society or attention economy. ‘You have to be as fast as possible and as omnipresent as possible,’ she explains. ‘The drawings become a form of subconscious diaries of the everyday psyche, while exercising a sense of letting go of the outcome of work, because to create new ideas means letting go of control.’
Spime’s paintings often read as an introspective reality of subconscious activities–reveries, dreams, and memories, exploring the complexity of identity, identity-formation and their forms of expression. Her work is characterized by figures in a whimsical shape, artificial hues, and flatness. While the main figure plays a central role in each work, the background remains as an unknown place that leads the viewer to mull over the meaning of the images. With the recurring motifs throughout Spike’s paintings – the border between day and night, fruits that evoke color prejudice, orbs implying glances – the artist speaks about our desire to belong and contemporary emotional states in a sequenced narrative.
In addition to this show, Thinkspace Projects presents Reen Barrera’s Emotional Meat, Sarah Joncas’s Upon Another Shore, Benzilla’s Alter Ego, and new works from Cody Jimenez and Michael Gates. These shows open July 8, 2023 with a reception from 6PM to 10PM. They will remain on view until July 29, 2023 at Thinkspace Projects.
About Spime Born in Montreal, Canada, and growing up in Hong Kong, Spime constantly seeks to bridge a gap between two cultures. Noticing the cultural differences as she tried to find a place for herself, Spime gained awareness of the surrounding diaspora, which led her to creating her own world where she could float across the boundaries of time and space.
In the past year, she has exhibited solo shows with Haus of Contemporary (Hong Kong) and LKIF (Seoul, South Korea). Group exhibitions include, GR Gallery (New York, NY), Maddox Gallery (London, UK) and Waluso Galler (London, UK).
Cody Jimenez explores a world where emotions are embodied in physical forms. The emotions are represented through vibrant colors and shapes that affect their environment and characters around them. By using physical representations of those emotions, he investigates the dualities of beauty and danger that mirror mysterious forces he experiences in his life.
About Cody Jimenez: Cody Jimenez is a Mexican-American artist whose work focuses on the natural world through a lens of Imaginative Realism. He received his BFA in painting from NMSU in 2014 and MFA in painting from LCAD in 2017. His work has been exhibited throughout the country, including Los Angeles, CA, Denver, CO, Baton Rouge, LA, and Santa Fe, NM.
Michael Gates ia multi-generational pottery maker based in Asheville, North Carolina.
“Traditional elements from the 1800s and forward in the Catawba Valley, North Carolina area have influenced my forms, glazes, clays, process, and decoration. Elements of the Reinhardt lineage of potters in my family, specifically, have made their way into my more contemporary work. However, with less importance on making functional ware as they did in this pre-industrialized era, I have the luxury to spend more time on decoration, concept, and the whimsical. I have an affinity for making the traditional family pieces in the traditional way, yet I also enjoy making something that’s new and different. Combining the two is what I enjoy the most about my work.” – Michael Gates