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|"QUANTUM SHOT" #739|
Link - article by Avi Abrams
"Artists that paint like Renaissance masters on drugs"
("The Machine in the Garden" series, by Jerry Wayne Downs; all images copyright Glass Garage Gallery, used by permission)
West Hollywood’s Glass Garage Gallery is a bit of a contrary oddball. No clean white walls (instead, they’re plum-colored). No aloof, snotty gallery staff hired for their decorative value (instead, it’s usually owner/director Henry Lien who’ll meet and greet you himself). Artists that paint like Renaissance masters on drugs. High concept exhibitions, including one where a noted Jungian therapist analyzed the artists about their artwork in front of a live audience.
("Hotel de Ville" and "The Refinery" by Arnau Alemany)
"It used to be that artists suffered for their work. Now, it’s the viewers who suffer." Glass Garage Gallery tries to reverse this trend.
“The gallery is sort of a response to trends that have tyrannized contemporary art in the last 60 years,” says the outspoken Lien. “For one thing, we’re not afraid of ‘pretty’.”
Lien studied semiotics at Brown, worked as a litigator for ten years, and is clearly impassioned about the artists the gallery represents. These things together mean that it is hard to get him to stop talking once he gets excited.
("Masks" series by Robert Peluce)
“‘Beauty’ is totally a four-letter word these days. I love that quote from Banksy: ‘Every artist is willing to suffer for their work. So why are so few prepared to learn how to draw?’ So much of contemporary art seems to think that aesthetic beauty is incompatible with political awareness or intellectual rigor or progressive thinking, just like in China during the Cultural Revolution.
("The Mirror" and "The Wishbone" by Steven Kenny)
It’s as if artists think that if it’s visually hideous and utterly devoid of any odors of ‘technique’ or ‘effort’, it must be art. Which is perfectly understandable reasoning. For thirteen-year old poseurs. As critic John McDonald of the Sydney Morning Herald said, ‘It used to be that artists suffered for their work. Now, it’s the viewers who suffer.’ That kind of art and art posturing is completely 20th century and has way exceeded its shelf life, in my opinion.”
(Henry Lien, the owner/director of Glass Garage Gallery, photo by Erik Hyler Gilbert)
Eye-Candy for Surrealists and Surrealist Sympathizers
The gallery is best known for representing Surrealists and Surrealist Sympathizers. Signature artists for the gallery include Margo Selski, whose work quotes Flemish painting and the society portraiture of John Singer Sargent, all to create an elaborate world starring Selski’s 12-year old son Theo.
("Young Lady with Teacup Piglet and Attention" and "Ladies' Underwater Gardening Society (fragment)" by Margo Selski)
Other artists include internationally acclaimed painter Leigh Wen-Cheng, whose epic paintings of the elements are achieved by engraving tens of thousands of lines into wet paint.
("Air Mural" by Leigh Wen-Cheng)
The gallery is also the U.S. gallery for x-ray artist Nick Veasey, featured previously on DRB (see here).
("Basque" and "Robot" by Nick Veasey)
Steven Kenny’s work comes across as a sort of Goth Rembrandt obsessed with nature as metaphor:
("The Web" and "Bark Necklace" by Steven Kenny)
Larissa Morais’s painting typifies Russian art in its love of fantasy and sick technical detail:
("Assumption" series, by Larissa Morais)
Emil Alzamora’s sculptures represent a sort of distilled Surrealism that is composed of simple, graphic forms that tattoo themselves on the back of your retina:
("Clear Conscience" and "Core" by Emil Alzamora)
("Sleeping Shark" and "Tether" by Emil Alzamora)
("King" and "Spool (fragment)" by Emil Alzamora)
The insane detail of Josh Suda’s hyperrealist paintings leaves you with a vividness that seems “more real than the real thing” in a way that no photographic could:
("Amalgamation", by Josh Suda)
Susan Hannon’s lyrical, ten-foot wide sculptures of “wings” are crafted out of abandoned Bibles, giving new life to books invested with emotion and courting more than a bit of controversy for the artist:
("You Get Me Closer to God, No. 6 (detail)", by Susan Hannon)
Jerry Wayne Downs’ first art job was to animate the three fairy godmothers on Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty”. However, as his own visions became stranger and stranger, he decided to strike out on his own and become a Surrealist painter. His work still retains clear evidence of this animation heritage:
("The Spanners" series, by Jerry Wayne Downs)
("Solitude", "Reserved Seating Only" and "Stylers"(right), by Jerry Wayne Downs)
Alevé Mei Loh’s “crush art” conveys in static form the strength and violence of technology as a force of nature:
(“Made in Germany, Crashed in America” and "Transformations" by Alevé Mei Loh)
The gallery also produces short films in connection with its exhibitions, DVDs/Blu-Rays of which are free upon request. The gallery is also known for throwing up “Curator’s Cut” special editions on Facebook, featuring deleted artworks that didn’t make the final lineup, interactive dialogues with the artists, and other exclusive “bonus features”. For example, in 2010, the gallery opened a Jungian-themed exhibition entitled “Psychoradiology”. The artists wrote down their dreams for 12 months, then created artwork based on their dreams. The opening exhibition was comprised of sessions between the artists and a Jungian analyst in front of a live audience, which were recorded and turned into a short Surrealist film that owes as much
to David Lynch as to dream analysis. Then, on Facebook, the gallery invited its fans to submit their own dreams. The gallery hired a Jungian analyst to interpret those dreams and posted the interpretations on Facebook, along with artwork exhibiting similar archetypes as those in the dreams.
For more information, check out the gallery’s website at glassgaragegallery.com and at www.facebook.com/GlassGarageGallery.
("Little Bee Travels to the Beautiful Bright Glow", by J. T. Burke)
("Beautiful Octopus in Her Swirling World" and "The Beautiful Dragon Flies" by J. T. Burke; all images copyright Glass Garage Fine Art Gallery, used by permission)
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