Every now and then I like to venture away from my studio and head up to Los Angeles for a couple of days of pop culture immersion (record stores, art galleries, and rock concerts) and driving frustration (all the time in-between). Such was the case last week when I headed up to LA to see Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band at “the dump that jumps” otherwise known as the Los Angeles Sports Arena. It was a super fun time, and rest assured that I’ll have a complete concert round-up posted in the next couple of days. With the concerts consuming only three or four hours of sweaty exuberance each night, that left tons of time during the day to wander around the city visiting bookstores, music shops, and—of course—art galleries!
I took in a bunch of exhibits on this trip from Hollywood to Santa Monica, and I’m pleased to report that every stop was a feast for the eyes and an electric shock to the imagination.
Joe Sorren at La Luz de Jesus
My first stop, as it usually is on an “art day,” was La Luz de Jesus on Hollywood Blvd, where two pretty awesome solo exhibits were on view during their closing week. The main attraction was When the Rain Comes, the latest spectacular show from Joe Sorren. Though small in total number of paintings, the half dozen or so pieces on display continue the legacy in oil that Joe has been building for the past dozen or so years. To the right is Brothers, my favorite of the new paintings and—of course—sold, as indicated by the little red dot in the corner of my photo, which sadly doesn’t do proper justice to the work. Joe’s paintings really have to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. I like the way that good gallery lighting plays off his layers of paint and glaze, so that each piece shimmers and glistens with life as you pass from one piece to the next. It’s a pretty awesome experience!
Scott Hove at La Luz de Jesus
Also at La Luz was the latest display of surreal bakery confections from the studio kitchen of Scott Hove. His latest show is titled My Own Private Apocalypse, and it’s a one room culinary school of seriously twisted cake decorations to hang on your walls and frighten parents dropping off the kiddies for a birthday party.
What’s not to like about a cake to celebrate the…
Though you’d really be hard pressed to tell the difference, Scott doesn’t really use sugary frosting to concoct his sculptured creations. The bases are made from wood and polyurethane foam, then painted with acrylics and embellished with other mixed media materials. The net effect, though, is that of a seriously disturbed baker luring unsuspecting prey in for the (last) meal of a lifetime! It’s really cool stuff!
Greg “Craola” Simkins and Johnny “KMNDZ” Rodriguez at Merry Karnowsky Gallery
Next stop on my gallery tour was the Merry Karnowsky Gallery on La Brea where I saw new solo shows from Greg Simkins and Johnny Rodriguez (sorry for using your proper names there guys… I have a moratorium on the number of quote symbols I can type in a single sentence). Both of these are strong shows, and well worth a trip into the art and furniture district for a visit. Simkins’ show Cloud Theory, in particular is very strong, with most of the work sold and, frankly, amazing. This was my first opportunity to see his elaborate paintings in person and I came away very impressed! Pretty much every piece in the show is thoughtfully composed, expertly painted, and purposefully conceived with consistent themes and clever motifs. Best, they just look really good! The paintings exhibit an inviting depth of color, and the drawings are expertly rendered. It’s no wonder at all that the show is mostly sold out (though a few do remain, so give the gallery a call!).
My favorites piece was Once They Arrive, pictured below. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of the framed pieces in the gallery, as in the past I’ve been politely asked by gallery personnel to not take photos in the gallery (though opening night photos have always been allowed). In any case, I left the camera in my bag, so here are a couple of images from the gallery site for your enjoyment.
First, the 5 foot by 7 foot centerpiece of the show:
And… my personal favorite, Once They Arrive (16″ x 42″).
Also worth seeing at Merry Karnowsky is One Step Beyond, the solo show from Johnny Rodriguez. I enjoyed his collection of acrylic, ink, and mixed media pieces in the Square Gallery. Two pieces in particular were quite nice: Little Boy and Fat Man, which bookended one of the exhibit’s larger pieces, both of which are displayed below.
And, with that, it looks like I saw far too much art to fit into a a single post, so we’ll save the best for a post of its very own: Twin Peaks — Fire Walk With Me at Copro. Next time; so tune in!!