I enter the La Luz de Jesus art gallery in the back of Wacko Soap Plant only to be arrested by its joyous serenity. Art lovers and enthusiasts the city over pace the walls and study the work and the only thing tempering the rooms’ meditative states are the otherwise gregarious paintings and illustrations seemingly lobbing “Hello”s and “Come Look at Me”s every observable direction. From their varied and diverse subject matter to their rich colors and arrestingly ironic depictions of the world, these creative works slap the observer back to reality by means of fantasy via the likes of hyper-naturalism, surrealism and controversy…oh and those colors—those magical, mystical jump-off-the canvas colors!
The first display I notice as I enter the venue is “Moments” by Ling Ly. Hailing originally from Hong Kong, Ly now resides in Los Angeles. An Art Center College of Design graduate, nature is one of her most cherished subjects of exploration. Combining the softness of its gentle elements with the even softer aspect of the love within humanity, the pictures seem to beckon the audience into a most fantastical story in medias res via the exploration of impending outer adventures and compelling inner narratives.
Joanne Seohyun Nam’s “Terra Cognito” (“Familiar Ground”) exhibit smacks of modern mysticism and near ghostly intrigue as her lighter colors pop and explode out toward you like a phantom’s sudden kiss! Partly responsible for Nam’s eerie nature-fueled artistry was a childhood spent on a pastoral Korean mountain along with her edification of ancient Korean folklore. Having moved to the States while still in high school, she now calls Los Angeles home. Nam is a graduate of Art Center college of Design with honor and a BFA in illustration.
D.W. Marino’s “Playskool Apokalips” renders disaster, duplicity and death delightful! From drone strikes, to toxic waste spills, to tongue in cheek Jaeger *Bombs*, his works are both worrisome and whimsical, harrowing and happy, disturbing and delicious! Describing himself as a fabricator, Marino admits to being self taught. Having worked as a graphic artist for the defense industry, a neon sign maker and in scenic services for film and music production, his politically satirical, socially conscious work has evolved into a style now referred to as “Playskool Apocalypse”. Most notably resembling the similarly named, vibrantly colored toys with which children so commonly amused themselves back in the 70s, I can’t help but think we all would have gotten a much more sobering, but necessary and well-rounded education if, say, a miniature tub of toxic waste or rainbow colored explosive had ever been thrown into the mix! Heavily influenced by the nuclear/cold war era Marino grew up a stone’s throw from Livermore Lab in the bay area and was raised by his naval officer/atomic weapons physicist father and stay at home mother.—and thank goodness for all that, otherwise we would not have been privileged with his peppily profound masterpieces today!
Paige Jiyoung Moon’s pictures invite, if not, beckon me. Like a children’s book I’m sure I always wanted to live in, they feature all manner of women and girls engaging in various, everyday activities but with a vivid undercurrent of hyper real color and impending magic to each. Jiyoung Moon admits to enjoying taking the mundane and making it enchanting and extraordinary. Only a year out of school, she recently garnered the Silver Medal from the NY Society of Illustrators.
This exhibit runs until Saturday February 2nd 2014 at La Luz de Jesus Gallery, 4633 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90027 (323) 666-7667.