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 New Works by Michael Gates who is multi-generational pottery maker based in Asheville, North Carolina where he studied art at the University of North Carolina Greensboro and Deakin University in Australia graduating with a fine arts degree in 2001. After some time spent traveling and painting, exhibiting in group shows, he is back in Asheville, NC where he returned to working with clay. He uses traditional methods of wood firing and digging clay from the same locations as his ancestors, while at the same time, embracing advancements in the field and forging a unique path ahead.
Our interview with Michael discusses his creative process, his inspirations and influences, and about his 6-generation Reinhardt pottery tradition.
Can you share a little about your background and how you first heard of Thinkspace?
As typically said, I was a big drawer as a kid. I also grew up surrounded by my great grandfather’s pottery in the house. Following the path of my interests, I got a college degree in Art, ceramics concentration. I then traveled around some, worked in graphic design, painting and ultimately made it back to clay. I obsess in the studio daily usually with music playing, or podcasts, which is probably where I first heard of Thinkspace.
What was the inspiration behind this body of work?
I love the idea of combining the simple historic pottery of my ancestors with ideas of the complex, rapidly changing times we are in. The unknown, psychedelia, spiritual, online culture, tech, ceramic history, urban culture are all inspiring. I love having a little fun with these ideas.
What does a day in the studio look like for you? How do you structure your days?
I always begin with coffee, and the sketchbook which I’ve always had handy as long as I can remember. Then, on to the studio, I do what needs to be done in the ceramic process, or choose something new to start on from the sketchbook, often working into the night hours.
Do you have any rituals that help you tap into a creative flow?
Seeing online what others are making, talking to artist friends, and getting that sense of community going really seems to help… and coffee
What is your most favorite and least favorite part of the creative process? Who are some of your creative influences?
Favorite would be working on the fine details such as underglaze painting and slip trailing. Least favorite is large coverage glazing and cleaning that up. Influences are the potters of the Catawba Valley, NC pottery tradition. Other early influences were surrealists like Dali, Magritte, and more recently Murakami, Ryden, English…
What was your trial and error process like in fostering your pottery skills? Do you utilize any family tips or tricks in your process?
Learning the limitations of the clay bodies and different kiln environments was the most important part of the sculptural aspect. Lots of testing of clays and glazes in the early days was crucial. Having the art school education really made for a solid foundation and deep well. I was definitely obsessed at one time with my families pottery history, duplicating the swirl-ware technique, the forms, alkaline glazes, copying the whimsical face jugs, firing in the same wood kilns, and even digging from the same clay pits. All of this is still a part of my process in some way.
If you could have any skill or topic downloaded into your brain, what would you want to be able to do/ be an expert at?
Some kind of productivity skill would be top priority. Seems like I’m always struggling to be more productive.
What has been one of the most rewarding aspects of your creative journey thus far?
It’s been fulfilling to continue the Reinhardt pottery tradition going back at least six generations. Also, sparking artistic interest in my kids, and hearing from others that I have inspired them are nice.
Who would be on the guest list if you could throw a dinner party for five people, dead or alive? What would be on the menu? What would be the icebreaker question?
I’m not sure if this is the best combination, but I’d for sure want my great grandfather Enoch Reinhardt to pick his brain about pottery. And I guess you can’t not have Jesus there…and going even further back, the Buddha also to make things interesting. Dave Chapelle for some comic relief. Marilyn Monroe maybe, for the stories of course. The menu, water to be turned into wine served in a large Rebecca Pitcher. Selfishly I’d choose Indian food and lots of desserts. Start off with asking: what’s your favorite work of 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