Updated: May 22, 2020
November 3, 2018 - January 11, 2019
Curated by Thinkspace
Thinkspace returns to Brand Library & Art Center for the second installment of Nexus, a curated selection of international artists belonging to the New Contemporary Art Movement. Nexus II features mini solo-exhibitions by Drew Merritt, Ermsy, Super A, and Robert Proch, a mural and installation by Bumblebeelovesyou, and outdoor sculptural installations by Spenser Little. Additional artists include: Kathy Ager, Liz Brizzi, Stephanie Buer, Adam Caldwell, EINE, Evoca1, Benjamin Garcia, Molly Gruninger, Stella Im Hultberg, Leon Keer, Huntz Liu, Natalia Rak, Joanne Nam, Laurence Vallieres, Cinta Vidal, and The Perez Bros.
The earliest incarnations of the New Contemporary Art Movement refused the paradigmatic disinterest of "Art" as an inaccessible garrison of 'high culture'. It championed figuration, surrealism, representation, pop culture, and its subculture. By incorporating the 'lowbrow,' accessible, and even profane, an exciting and irreverent art movement grew in defiance of "high" art. Shaped by a foundational counter cultural edge, the movement was largely self-supported and community-driven, taking shape beyond gallery walls and outside of traditional institutions. Now, as diverse aesthetically as it is geographically and culturally expansive, the New Contemporary has come into its own as a globally energized art movement.
Thinkspace was founded in 2005; now in LA's Culver City Arts District, the gallery has garnered an international reputation as one of the most active and productive exponents of the New Contemporary Art Movement. Thinkspace has steadily expand- ed its roster and diversified its projects, creating collaborative and institutional opportunities all over the world. Founded in the spirit of forging recognition for young, emerging, and lesser-known talents, the gallery is now home to emerging, mid- career and established artists that span the globe.
Drew Merritt - The Overture Known for his dramatically staged and hyper-realistically rendered figurative works, Los Angeles-based painter Drew Merritt is interested in exploring the shifting expressive tensions of the human figure. With the exaggerated impact of stark visual contrasts, Merritt pushes his works into the realm of fantasy with heightened extremes, costuming, and mise-en-scène. Something visceral and uncomfortable prevails in Merritt's highly stylized works, in their complete reduction of context to uneasily arrant white back- grounds, and in their Baroque preference for the theatricality of effect. At times, Merritt's imagery borders on the grotesque, but the beauty of the work's execution delays the immediate recognition of its stylized proposition of human darkness. This balance of contradictory impulses sustains the fascination of the artist's human renderings; psychologically suggestive and open-ended, the works are an invitation to interpret and project. At times vulnerable and others foreboding and contorted, his figures are poignant assertions of human vulnerability in the midst of bleak white noise.
Ermsy - Saying Yes to Saying No English-born, Paris-based illustrator and artist Ermsy takes the popular cartoons of his childhood and reimagines them as irreverent appropriations. Fascinated by American pop culture as a readily accessible visual vernacular, Ermsy's take on its beloved illustrated characters is both satirical and participatory. These adult-themed bastardizations of Garfield, Loony Tunes, The Simpsons, and the like, are simultaneously elated and anarchic in their absurd display of debauchery like tendencies. Using familiar characters provides Ermsy with a set of pre-established imaginative boundaries within which to work. Like a dreamy descent into an alternate universe of nostalgic psychotropic morning cartoons, his world is a playful subversion of familiar pop cultural fodder.
Super A - Domestication Dutch artist Stefan Thelen, better known by his moniker Super A, creates hyperreal murals and studio paintings that explore the world of human contradiction. Super A’s well-established alias is a creative alter identity created to explore more contentious and difficult subject matter as a muralist in the public sphere. Through the combination of realistic and surreal imagery, Super A is often dealing in visual metaphor and social messaging, questioning the ideologies and cultural myths we've become too complacent at accepting without critique. Interested in the interrogation of objectivity and its ultimate exposure as a construct, Super A combines elements of realism with the free reign of fiction to produce unexpected results. His most recent body of works strips cartoon, fairy- tale, or pop cultural archetypes of their fantasy and veneer, revealing the realistic or historical counterparts beneath them. An apt commentary on the dissimulation of popular cultural mythology, Super A deconstructs its theater.
Robert Proch - In Women We Trust Polish artist Robert Proch is a muralist, painter, and animator known for dynamic paintings that loosen the representational towards the abstract. His works at times, near cubist or futurist deconstruction of figure and space, remain grounded in a language of relatable, albeit stylized, realism. As emotionally charged as they are formally complex, Proch dissembles and reconstitutes shifting spatial planes through the elemental reduction of form and movement to its most essential geometries and fragments. Interested in this graphic distillation of motion, Proch has studied the technical reduction of form extensively and works primarily from imagination rather than photographic resources. This freedom of stylization evolved early on for Proch, when, working as a graffiti artist on lettering, he became increasingly expert at abstract composition. Now the urban landscape and its inhabitants are the artist's primary source of inspiration, incorporating its architectures and daily activities into arresting scenes of controlled chaos.
Bumblebeelovesyou Los Angeles-based muralist and artist Bumblebeelovesyou creates whimsical works in which children figure prominently as positive emissaries of truth, innocence, and light. Interested in themes of communication, transition, and change, Bumblebeelovesyou's simple, graphic works incorporate nostalgic elements like 80s pajamas, paper airplanes, and phone booths, and play with ideas of memory, cultural collectivity, and personal recall.
Spenser Little Self-taught artist Spenser Little creates elaborate sculptural works and installations using simple, continuous lengths of hand-bent wire. His sculptural 'drawings' are part problem resolution and strategic negotiation; each piece a contained proposition and resolution, a series of moves and choices like a game of chess. Little's works range in theme and format; some are single bits of text and wordplay, others, detailed portraits or elaborate, large-format compositions. Activated by their public placements throughout cities, the wire pieces are poignant physical interventions into the landscape that compel the viewer to reconsider their surroundings.