LA native Stephanie Matthias is an artist and jewelry maker who runs the brand/online shop OK-Universe. The brand is mixture of light, graceful neck pieces with a splash of homemade rough edges. They’re kind of like if you took pasta you made necklaces with as a child, cast them in gold, and then strung them together: they are simple, basic, and pretty jewelry items.
(C)overt, the group show recently on view at Synchronicity Space on Heliotrope and curated by 5790projects (aka Catlin Moore and Matthew Gardocki) left me vexed. In my rush to arrive to the opening on a rainy night from a figure painter’s open studio nearby, I forgot to use my aesthetic wiper blades (someone should pitch that product to a venture capitalist) to make a clean hole for my visual, intake valve. After dodging other reception cavorters in an effort to see the paintings, I thought, “What can I value from this not so overtly covert four person show?” A friendly war of aesthetics was being fought. I just needed to figure out if I believed the premise and to choose a side. The news release asserted that “…each artist grapples with (an) equilibrium of the hidden and unveiled—both aesthetic and conceptual attributes are strategically divulged, annihilated, obscured, and intimated.” While that description sounded open ended and apt, I wanted the how, the blood and guts of each artists’ mission. I emailed each artist that same question I asked myself when I encountered the works during those critical first moments of entry to the intimate, gallery space. Can we receive anything from looking and seeing art other than temporal terrors, slow burns of visual bliss or something neutral and leveling in between? Are those “psychological associations” something valuable? As a 6 year old I know likes to tell me, “Nothing IS something.” Three of the four artists graciously responded to my query with unique statements on where they stood on their art production and what they hoped viewers would see and gain from looking at their contemporary art spawn. Their words abetted my initial trepidations and stoked my thoughtful curiosity even more.
Nikko De Leon is a fantastic local illustrator who has a young, handmade style. He has an obsession with characters, all of whom have recurring roles in his art pieces. They are wolves and devils, raccoons and somewhat aloof men who aren’t bothered by their fantasy friends. His work is very fun.
On the sixth day of Holiday, my LA friend gave to me: Process and Content’s Deer Head.
Nicole Guice is a Los Angeles based illustrator. Her work is very dainty and plays within that cutesy, realistic world that has been made popular by websites like Daily Candy. Her style is a bit more detailed and relies on an interaction between drawn materials and watercolor painting. It’s a beautiful technique.