Inside the Studio of Super A as he prepares for ‘Apostasy,’ Thinkspace’s third solo presentation with the artist. The exhibition features compositions that strip cartoon, fairytale, or pop-cultural archetypes of their fantasy and veneer, revealing the realistic or historical counterparts beneath them. An apt commentary on the dissimulation of popular cultural mythology, Super A deconstructs its theater.
Before I started this series called “Trapped” one of the returning subjects that always inspires me is contradiction. Two opposites that create an interesting tension. I wanted to show two worlds in one piece. I came up with some ideas to get it done but all too complex. While writing down some ideas about the fake world that surrounds us I tried to literally wrap a cartoon version around the real version. And link it to daily life where people are comfortable with wearing a mask so we don’t have to show who we really are. Interesting how for example we worship cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse but when we see a real mouse we jump on our chair and start screaming. From there the Trapped series was born. For me it came at the right moment as I was always telling one story in one painting, and then immediately move on to the next which was always pretty exhausting and I found I got a bit tired of constantly digging into all the things that somehow frustrated me to come up with new concepts So for now it’s quite enjoyable to focus on this theme and slowly develop new ideas.
Opening Reception: Saturday, December 12 from noon to 6 pm in Gallery I* masks and social distancing required at all times
Inside the studio of Uriginal aka Uri Martinez as he prepares for ‘Sweet Rage’ showing at The Brand Library & Art Center for NEXUS III
Since the beginning of the new millennium, a street art scene in Barcelona, Spain emerged and has quickly become one of the most vibrant in Europe. Among many Spanish urban artists who gained wide recognition and acclaim is Uriginal, a Barcelona-based creative who became known for his pieces inspired by historical masterpieces and popular imagery. He brings to life the famous subjects of iconic paintings by utilizing bright colors and bold lines, along with the use of a kaleidoscope geometric pattern throughout many of his artworks. His pieces grace the walls throughout Barcelona.
Influenced by individualized and distinctive style of the most famous Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí – especially his multicolored mosaics – Uriginal has developed a unique aesthetics and style that goes from the reinvention of Marvel Comics heroes to Pop Art to the characters of Star Wars, from Spanish painting or flamenco to the Barcelona Graffiti scene. He describes himself as “the son of a matador from high Ampurdán and a florist from the Ramblas of Barcelona” whose dream from childhood has been to become the national “King of paella”.
His characters are tessellated mosaics, seemingly in constant alteration, as if they were appearing or disappearing. The vivid color, humor, and irrepressible creativity, are all part of Uriginal’s alluring visual language.
Inside the studio of Yosuke Ueno for ‘Majestic Parade’ showing at The Brand Library & Art Center for NEXUS III.
A self-taught painter based out of Tokyo, Yosuke Ueno is known for his imaginative, character-driven worlds created in symbolic pursuit of innocence, hope, and positivity. These loosely narrative-based paintings evolve intuitively, the artist’s approach to his compositions seldom premeditated, preferring instead to embrace the creative tangents of his subconscious. By allowing the process of painting to dictate the outcome, the works host a recurring cast of playful creatures, hybrids, and psychotropic fantasies. The artist, amidst these playful gestures, emerges as an inventor of psychedelic metaphor and cultural pastiche, freely combining references to everything from Japanese culture, ancient Greek mythology, Tokyo Street fashion and video games to Disney animation and the Western canon of art history. Driven by a genuine desire to capture our philosophical interconnectivity through art, Ueno’s multicultural references coalesce through the unpretentious spontaneity of his imagination and a fundamental belief in the universality of a shared condition.
Unexpected juxtapositions and cleverly contradictory elements emerge and interact within Ueno’s worlds, while a surreal freedom conflates the ordinary restrictions of time and space in support of its fantasies. The ancient and the contemporary are continually recombined, existing on a timeless plane through the simultaneous referencing of the traditional and pop-cultural. The unexpected poetry of these alliances, much like the paintings themselves, reveal complex accretions of cultural sediment, the result of an unimpeded admixture of worlds. Anchored by the concept of Yin and Yang and the elemental balance of the light and dark forces it implies, Ueno’s works strive to capture the plasticity and flux of these energetic constellations as they vie for poetic balance and positive resolve.
Inside the studio with Leon Keer as he prepares for his exhibition ‘Contradictions’ showing at The Brand Library & Art Center for NEXUS III.
Leon Keer is a world-leading artist in the anamorphic street art. He has executed commissions in Europe, The United States, Mexico, The United Arabic Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Russia, New Zealand, Australia and several Asian countries.
A message seems to be present in his work. Current issues are reviewed, such as environmental concerns and the livability of this world. Leon Keer is constantly aware of the playfulness and beauty versus the degradation around him, a contrast that he expresses and amplifies in his work and which he uses as a metaphor for live.
His paintings reflect his thoughts, confronting the viewer with the diseased spirit of our times, visible decay counter-pointing a timeless longing for unspoiled beauty.
The artist adds: “Every street art piece is unique and belongs to the street and its residents, the temporary fact about this artform strengthens its existence”
Inside the studio of Kaili Smith in the Netherlands as he wraps up the work on his debut U.S. solo show “A Utopia Where The Problems Are Not Fixed” opening October 17 at Thinkspace.
Artist Statement:A utopia where the problems are not fixed. That sentiment encompasses both my painting & film practice. I grew up in the Netherlands & Australia, both times in diverse inner-city areas. In my works, I recreate a world that is based on the youth culture in these environments. From mundane scenarios of friendships & connectivity, other works look at the perspectives of young people growing up in environments where they face criminality around them, showing both children simply getting by in these environments or ones who have become involved. The idea of utopia is based around the loyalty, trust and love built within this imperfect environment, as well as one’s own self-worth and comfortability in who they are. The paintings often include baroque style costuming, mixed with streetwear. These costumes do not signal current privileges but rather show visions of a “come up” and reflect class aspiration these children have. The film works are generally centered around dark humor and like the paintings play with a “realistic-surrealism”. Through a focus on dialog, the films show both positive aspects of these environments while critiquing certain norms within them. A diverse range of subjects are purposely represented to open a dialog and show the ever-growing complex family dynamic children live in, which often crosses blood or racial lines. Showing how when one comes from an absent family structure they are likely to build one themselves. My practice is also influenced by a growing understanding of psychology with focus research into the process of Normalization of behavior and the human need for a tribe/belonging. Breaking expectations while at the same not hiding uncomfortable truths is the balance all my works aim for.
The exhibition will be on view from October 17 through November 7.
We plan to have visitation for the show each Saturday, including opening day from noon to 6 pm. We will post a scheduling platform link on our website this coming week.