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Welcome to the latest art to emerge from the contemporary visionaries as seen through the eyes of Platinum Cheese. 

Beyond Eden 2013 @ Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery

On Saturday, October 12, the LA Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Park opened its doors once again to the 2-day Beyond Eden art event coordinated by Thinkspace Gallery’s Andrew Hosner. What makes this event so special is not only the gathering of great galleries in a sizable museum venue, but the amazing location. The arts complex is built right next to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House and has a one-of-a-kind view of Hollywood that you can enjoy from a grassy hill. There were a number of artists sharing their technique through live painting, including artist, John Park. He wore his own custom-made cardboard gorilla mask and also displayed several works in C.A.V.E Gallery’s space, one being a huge gorilla head sculpture. The animal has become a sort of spirit guide in John’s work.

IMG_1661 John Park for "Wild at Heart II"

I was especially taken with the work by artist, Tom French. His rough application of dripped and smeared black paint on a stark background reveal shadowy faces. Within the eyes of some the faces are additional figures of people. It is as if the eyes had been transformed literally into the window of the subject’s sole.

IMG_1683 Tom French for C.A.V.E. Gallery

Brin Levinson painted a strikingly bleak and lonely, man-made backdrop in 2 works where you are facing the corners of industrial locales. In one, a seemingly very lost goat passes in front of a massive 7-Up bottling plant. In the second one, an almost humorously out-of-place squid is feeling around the alley of a European-style urban neighborhood with empty alleys. The hazy air communicates an unhealthy and polluted world that man carelessly abandoned.

1003654_10151485393705172_2114165743_n Brin Levinson for C.A.V.E. Gallery

Thinkspace’s “Wild At Heart II” was a special show in support of Born Free USA. It featured over 40 artists internationally who created works that comment on the struggles facing endangered species. There was a varied selection visual theme explorations. Some artists explored man’s presence as creating a disorienting and threatening element for animal life, while other artists presented idealized visions of co-habitation between animals and man.

One that stood out for me was Andrew Hem’s piece because of it’s beautiful, simple and symbolic depiction of 2 albatrosses fighting over a piece of plastic from a 6-pack. The fact that they are both white nicely communicates the birds’ innocence to the challeges and changes man’s pollution has created. Beneath many of the works were placards giving statistics and explaining how the different species are fighting to survive.

IMG_1686 Andrew Hem for "Wild at Heart II"

Two other rooms presented by Thinkspace offered a display of gallery-tailored street art and photography featuring top street artists at work in their non-gallery environments. It was curated by Birdman, the photographer who has been largely responsible for preserving the street artists’ craft and art on the streets landscape. Artist, Mear One painted a scene illustrating the culmination of man’s waste and junk production. A towering pile of man-made refuse teeters as human figures on top attempt to claim this island of salvage for their own. I also enjoyed the series of vintage “Life” Magazines that artist, David Flores had altered with his skillful dissections of famous faces. To see original source material combined with the abstract lines gives the impression that you are seeing a plastic surgeon’s pre-op markings.

1385257_10151651373671478_1557254361_n Mear One for "Bird's Eye View"

Copro Gallery presented a preview of their upcoming show opening on October 26th. Artist, Chet Zar, has expanded his army of tortured, zombie-like creatures with his “Ego Death” themed show. For the first time in his work, a group portrait assembles a gathering of his characters around a floating, hooded figure who is meditating. Another first is a portrayal of his Black Magik bounty hunter character aiming a gun at his own head. Although weapons have been displayed in his prior works, this is the most overtly violent act performed by one of his characters. On hand was documentarian, Mike Correll who premiered his trailer for much-anticipated Chet Zar’s “I Like To Paint Monsters” film.

OEgoDeath2(BlackMagickSuicide)_24x30 Chet Zar for Copro Gallery

IMG_1653 Chet Zar for Copro Gallery

Artist, Nikko Hurtado used his three children as subjects and perefectly revealed their distinctly different personalities. These portraits and others were painted expertly in the classical tradition, but obviously feature modern subjects judging by clothes and hairstyles. He celebrates his background as a tattoo artist in his idolatry of the tattoo gun, the female form and his designs on several female subjects. His attention to small details and his understanding of flesh tones reveal that the Nikko is multi-talented, whether choosing to create on flesh or canvas.

IMG_1654 Nikko Hurtado for Copro Gallery

IMG_1655 Nikko Hurtado for Copro Gallery

IMG_1656 Nikko Hurtado for Copro Gallery

Showing with San Francisco’s Spoke Art Gallery was artist, Serge Gay Jr., who painted a regal King of Pop, Michael Jackson, bookmarked by masks of his past and future selves. Haunting details in the background include floating children and his ominous Neverland Ranch in the distance. Serge’s tribute to The Beatles shows the band’s changing looks over the years with each member representing a different phase. The background is a culmination of iconic lyrical references, including a weeping guitar. In another of his works, he makes us face our past with a grid pattern of distinctive 80’s icon faces from the movies.

1379247_650820588295992_1680423449_n Serge Gay Jr. for Spoke Art

The well-attended opening night featured an award ceremony honoring the efforts of long-time arts supporter, Greg Escalante, who helped start Copro Gallery and Juxtapoz Magazine. With an arts movement as relatively young as this, it was truly exciting to meet and learn more about an individual who has made significant trending contributions to this art scene. His drive to share his passion and appreciation for pop-surrealism and lowbrow artists promoted an entire cultural shift that has brought us to “Beyond Eden”.

1385133_10151668674866681_1455635284_n Andrew Hosner and Greg Escalante. Photo by Sam Graham.

IMG_1684 Aron Wiesenfeld, Brian Mashburn, Regan Rosburg for "Wild at Heart II"

IMG_1676 Marco Mazzoni for "Wild at Heart II"

IMG_1667 Sayaka Ganz for "Wild at Heart II"

IMG_1673 Diana Beltran Herrera for "Wild at Heart II"

IMG_1664 Camilla d`Errico for "Wild at Heart II"

IMG_1685 Joao Ruas for "Wild at Heart II"

IMG_1657 Kazu Tsuji for Copro Gallery

IMG_1644 Scott Hove for Spoke Art

IMG_1651 Crystal Wagner for Spoke Art

IMG_1645 Joel Daniel Phillips (detail) for Spoke Art

IMG_1649 Erik Jones for Spoke Art

IMG_1679 FinDAC and Young Chun for C.A.V.E. Gallery

IMG_1682 SIT and Zach Johnsen for C.A.V.E. Gallery

Travis Louie "Strange Discoveries" @ Merry Karnowsky Gallery

Kukula "The Adventures of Raspberry Finn" @ Corey Helford Gallery