L.A. Art Show opened Wednesday night at the Los Angeles Convention Center, filling the venue's South Hall with a wide variety of art. This year, the event is incorporating areas dedicated to original works, prints and posters. A new addition is a section called Littletopia, curated by New Orleans gallery Red Truck, which brings together a smattering of galleries whose offerings include pop surrealism and other highly contemporary styles. It's a regional counterbalance to the works from major art stars like Damien Hirst and the gamut of international galleries that were represented at this edition.
Participants in this year's show include galleries from across the world, including many Asian art exhibitors, but there are a few key L.A. players in the mix.
Check out what a few Southern California galleries are bringing to the art show.
La Luz de Jesus
La Luz de Jesus has been around for 28 years, but this is the first time that the renowned gallery will be making an appearance at L.A. Art Show. Known for pushing L.A.'s art scene into the limelight at the end of the 20th century, La Luz de Jesus will take part in Littletopia.
Central to La Luz de Jesus' is an installation from Wayne Martin Belger. "This new piece is going to be controversial," says gallery director Matt Kennedy. Belger takes photos with pinhole cameras that he creates using materials that relate to the subject of the photographs. For his most recent work, he has been working with camera that incorporates the heart of a human infant. He photographed pregnant women with the camera. "He's one of the few artists that is really matching high concept with high craft," says Kennedy. Belger will appear the booth for discussions on January 15 and 19.
The gallery will also be presenting work from a host of other artists as well. This includes a new piece from Germs, who was featured on Artbound last fall. For L.A. Art Show, Germs is contributing a new lamp, similar to the ones that were part of his recent show at the Vincent Price Museum. La Luz de Jesus is pairing Germs' new piece with work from Nathan Ota. "We love the fact that Nathan is such a great painter and he paints so well with light," says Kennedy. "Germs has a really bright color palette as well. It's so different, but it will be nice to have them next to each other." Ota and Germs will discuss street art at the booth on January 18.
Culver City's Century Guild merges the past and the present with collections that include Mucha and Klimt as well as current works from Dave McKean and Clive Barker. They're regular exhibitors at San Diego Comic-Con, where many of their artists already have followings. This is the first time Century Guild will be setting up shop for L.A. Art Show. "It's a lot of things we have at Comic-Con," says gallery owner Thomas Negovan of what they're bringing to the event, "but even more dramatic."
This week, they will set up two booths. One will focus on works created through 1920. Another booth will focus on contemporary pieces. Central to the contemporary booth are paintings by Barker. They will also feature works from McKean, known to comic book fans for his work on titles like Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth and The Sandman, and Gail Potocki.
Negovan says that the gallery offers a "unique" perspective that will be evident this week. "It's a lot of the antique work that we have that influenced a lot of contemporary work," he explains. "On the other side of it, the contemporary work that we have are some of the most creative people. Clive Barker, who is obviously a famous writer, all of his ideas come out first as paintings. He writes stories based around them."
Negovan adds, "I think that anyone who is interested in the art of creativity, or the creative process, is going to be really pleased with what they find in our booth."
Thinkspace will be part of Littletopia with an exhibition of 12" x 12" works from over 30 artists. This includes noteworthy locals like Audrey Kawasaki and international artists like Germany's Low Bros. Some of the artists in the exhibition are part of Thinkspace's 2014 exhibition calendar. Henrik Aa. Uldalen's dreamy figures are currently on display at the gallery. Joram Roukes, Liz Brizzi and others have shows coming up this year.
Andrew Hosner, curator and co-owner of Thinkspace, says to watch out for two new pieces from Tokyo-based artist Yosuki Ueno "that play off of well known works from the 15th and 16th centuries." He adds Alex Yanas, a mixed media sculptor from Miami, will have new pieces in the show that are sure to catch eyes.
Maxwell Alexander Gallery
"Our philosophy is the new breed of fine art," says Beau Alexander, gallery director and owner of Maxwell Alexander Gallery. The Culver City spot moves across genres with finesse, showcasing some of the finest artists working in a wide variety of representational styles. The diversity of their offerings will be the focus of the gallery's first stint at L.A. Art Show. They will exhibit works that range from Western to figurative to landscape pieces. "Most booths show one genre," says Alexander. "We're showing the best of each category."
Maxwell Alexander will showcase works from Jeremy Lipking, an L.A.-based artist who has earned accolades for his figurative work. They're also bringing in a new piece from Logan Maxwell Hagege,who Alexander says is "throwing a wrench in the Western market." L.A.-based Hagege is only 33, but has works in multiple museum collections and has garnered a lot of press in this realm of art. His latest piece is a 50" x 30" depiction of a Native American chief done in black and white with gold leaf.
ABRA Gallery features both up-and-comers and more established artists. For L.A. Art Show, though, the Westlake Village gallery is tightening its scope. Their exhibition will emphasize Iranian art. "A lot of collectors are looking at these for investing," says gallery director Masoud Pourhabib, adding that works from artists in Iran is difficult to obtain. "It's hard to get art out of the country because of various restrictions.
Four artists will be at the center of this show. These include Hessam Abrishami, Goli Mahallati, Neda Dastgheib and Pooneh Oshidari. Pourhabib notes that the works will give the perspective of two different generations of Iranian artists. Abrishami and Mahallati are "pre-revolution." Dastgheib and Oshidari were born after the 1979 Iranian Revolution. "You can see the work under the new regime," he says, "the influence that they had."
L.A. Art Show Arts District Mural Tour
Want to step outside of the convention center for a bit? Join the L.A. Art Show Arts District Mural Tour on January 18. The free tour, which does require reservations, has been put together by Cartwheel and Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles. It's an extensive look at the murals of downtown's Arts District. Roughly 65 murals will be part of the curated tour, including works by Risk, David Choe, Greg "Craola" Simkins and many more.
"We have these murals that are now legalized and that we're trying to protect through the permit process," says Cindy Schwarzstein, founder of Cartwheel. The tour is a chance to show L.A. Art Show attendees what the city streets have to offer. Schwarzstein notes that JR's "Wrinkles of the City" pieces are a favorite amongst browsers. The French artist has two pieces from that series in the neighborhood. Also of note will be the newest addition to the Art District's collection of murals, Urban Bigfoot, by Ron English and Vyal.
Top Image: Henrik Aa. Uldalen will have work on display with Culver City gallery Thinkspace.
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