Thinkspace is excited to present Spime ‘Fish Out of Filtered Water,’ where she 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.’
Our interview with Spime discusses her rituals, about Taoism, and what collaboration might be piquing her interests.
Can you share a little about your background and how you first heard of Thinkspace?
I was born in Montreal and I moved to Hong Kong when I was 2 and grew up there. I was raised largely in 1990s Hong Kong, post colonialism, and its implications formed the backdrop to my childhood. In 2010,
I moved to Canada to study graphic design at OCAD University.
I first heard of Thinkspace through the gallery’s work with Roby Dwi Antono. As I learned more about Thinkspace, its mission and collaborations really resonated with me.
What was the inspiration behind this body of work? What was the most challenging piece?
This work is a continuation of my ongoing exploration of the diasporic experience. I am interested in creating a world of characters and stories that reflect the not so obvious parts about being a third culture kid, a world that mirrors the everyday life of someone who embodies more than one place to call home.
During the preparation for this show, I moved around the world—from Hong Kong, to Toronto, and to NYC. During this time, I needed to express my work in a more flexible medium, which is when I started developing the works on paper (entitled “Figure Studies 1, 2, 3, 4”). These were some of the most challenging pieces, not only because I worked on them across the world, but also because it represented a sense of surrender and vulnerability. In many ways, the works on paper are more authentic to my creative process, because the drawings on paper mark the inception of larger ideas about the work as a whole.
Do you have any rituals that help you tap into a creative flow?
I like to start my day with grounding activities, like drawing on a smaller scale, or experimenting with a different medium. Without needing to formalise the work, it takes the pressure off from completing the larger works that are designed for a particular show/project. The warm up usually takes up to an hour long, then the rest of the day is spent very strategically around the next big project.
What are your thoughts on people having auras? And have you ever had your aura read?
I have never had my aura read yet. But if I were to explain what auras are to a 5 year old, I would say it means the relationship between people, the environment, and sentient beings and how those relationships change over time. Sometimes you have incredible conversations with others which open up completely new worlds for you and you suddenly see things differently. It gives you energy.
How do you practice the act of surrender(ing) in your life? When do you realize you might be trying to hold too tightly to a sense of control?
I practice surrendering in my artistic practice.
I believe as artists you are constantly striving for a kind of beauty in your work, but the phenomena of beauty often appears when you least expect it. So when I notice that I am trying to aim for perfection in my work, that’s usually a sign for me to surrender and let go. Because perfection doesn’t exist, but perfectionism—a false sense of control—exists.
In Taoism, there’s a concept of Wu Wei, which literally translates to no action. That concept resonates with me, particularly if I’m responding to an experience of perfectionism and control.
If you could collaborate with any artists in any sort of medium (i.e. movies, music, painting) who would you collaborate with, and what would you be making?
I would want to work with an industrial product partner on creating uniquely designed home pieces for the home, whether it’s textile based chairs, couches, structural storage, or decorative lighting, etc.
Exhibition on view July 8 – July 29, 2023 at: Thinkspace Projects 4207 W. Jefferson Blvd. Los Angeles, California 90016
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
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