A new group show entitled "Natural Balance" has just opened at the New Image Art Gallery in West Hollywood showing the many ways contemporary artists are playing with the legacy of Surrealism and Symbolism. The work of Lucien Shapiro, P-Jay Fidler, Jason Redwood, Mel Kadel, Travis Millard and Gosha Levochkin all play with representations of our inner selves and the role archetypal images play in our lives and material culture. The cultural "artifacts" built by Lucian Shapiro appear at first glance to be tribal masks and weapons from Papua New Guinea or Central Africa, but upon closer inspection are made from such wide ranging materials as skateboard wheels and small bags of weed. These pieces show the connection between our tribal past and our consumerist present through the use of discarded objects normally used to show brand or sub-culture loyalty, a modern expression of tribal solidarity. The small but intricate paintings by P-jay Filder are a mosaic of dream images, words, and vibrant colors all expertly crafted and melded together to form a thematic question to the viewer. Jason Redwoods work stands at the crossroads of folk and fine art, pop culture and fantasy blending them into paintings that are meditations on mortality and the human psyche. Mel Kadel's work owe's a lot to children's book illustration of the sixties and seventies, belying a blend of Victorian sweetness and psychedelica in drawings, repeating patterns and card stock cutouts all under a faded brown wash. The drawings of Travis Millard are like a rebirth of underground cartoonist Robert Crumb's style but with greater psychological complexity and depth. Gosha Levochkin's work exists in a faded dreamscape, using a mixture of flowers and curling black tendrils, his paintings seek to illustrate in physical form psychological ideas and emotions.
In its entirety this show demonstrates the wide variety of paths Surrealism and Symbolism have taken in the twenty-first century and the way those movements still speak to us today.
Photo credit: Ian Rosenzweig