Preview: SWANK Group Exhibit @ Thinkspace Gallery [Culver City]

Since opening its doors in 2005, Culver City‘s Thinkspace Gallery has remained at the forefront of the new contemporary art movement with themed group shows, solo exhibits, and even ventures beyond their immediate territory with exhibits abroad and various outside collaborations.  When it’s all said and done, however, Thinkspace has built its notoriety by recognizing incredible talent and putting their weight behind it.  They’ve maintained a hefty and impressive international roster, but for every Aaron Horkey, Jeremy Fish, or Josh Keyes, there are twice as many artists currently paying their dues and forging their own names on the way up.  This Saturday, September 2nd, Thinkspace presents SWANK, a group exhibit highlighting the work of 9 different artists with varying styles and approach from their roster “whose work and recognition are on the rise.”  The pieces showcased in Swank are as diverse as they are strong, with each contributor possessing their own incredibly distinct voice and aesthetic.  With 56 works in total, the show provides a solid representation of what each individual artist is capable of and the directions that they are currently pursuing.

The amount of depth and attention to detail in these images suggest something that can only be appreciated further by witnessing them in person.  For those usable to make it out to the opening this weekend, the good news is that Swank will remain on display until September 23rd

Check out a selection of preview images accompanied by a bio for each artist below the following event details…

WHAT:

SWANK
Group Exhibit

WHEN:

Opening:
Saturday, September 2, 2017

6pm-9pm

WHERE:

Thinkspace Gallery
86009 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232 

 

ADDITIONAL INFO:

Opening is ALL AGES w/NO COVER
Show on view until Saturday, September 23, 2017
Gallery hours: Tues – Sat. noon – 6pm
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/420781631652758/


Alex Garant
“Wearing Your Dreams”
Oil on canvas
20″ × 30″

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.


 

Christopher Konecki
“Cycle”
Mixed Media Sculpture

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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.


 

David Rice
“Alpine Spring”
Acrylic on Board
24″ × 36″

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.


 

Lauren Brevner
“New Blood I”
Oils, acrylics, resin and mixed media on wood panel
Framed (dimensions are of artwork only)
22″ × 30″

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.


 

Michael Reeder
“Gold Digger”
Acrylic, mixed media and string on hand cut wood assemblage
39.5″ × 49.5″

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.


 

Molly Gruninger
“Bird of Paradise”
Oil on Canvas
22″ × 28″

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 selfornamentation, 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.


 

Sean Norvet
“Cooking with Sherm”
Oil on panel
8″ × 10″

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 photorealistic painting technique with an excessively cartoonish and hyperbolic artificiality, Norvet seizes the viewer in a hallucinogenic distortion of portraiture.


 

Tran Nguyen
“Midnight Passerby”
Acrylic and colored pencil on paper
Framed(dimensions are of artwork only)
15″ × 12″

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
“Field Recording”
Acrylic on panel
18″ × 18″

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.

Dead C

Located in Seattle, Dead C is the founder/editor, as well as the principal writer and photographer, of Monster Fresh. Creating the site in 2007, he did so with a specific dream in mind. Unfortunately, being a muscle relaxer-fueled fever dream, it's hard to recall all of the details. "I remember that my mom was there, but it wasn't actually her in the dream, it was actually 70s heart throb, Jan Michael Vincent. And everything took place here, in this room... but it wasn't actually here... it was different. The colors were washed out and, for some reason, there was a raccoon kicking it with us and it was wearing a holographic monocle."

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