Welcome to the First in a series of LLdJ Guest Blogs!
Brand new La Luz de Jesus gallery employee Mia Matsumiya reporting! I'm sorry; that was a really cheesy introduction but I think it's somewhat excusable and maybe even appropriate to talk like that when you carry a clipboard –I mean, officially.
(That's me at left.)
So speaking of official, my very first official exhibition as an employee was the January 7th opening, highlighting artists Steven Daily, Howard Hallis, Tammi Otis, and Charles Binger. So fun!
As the show attendees began swarming into the gallery, I was a little nervous and didn't know what to expect; it was my first official show ever! I had been to a gazillion La Luz de Jesus shows but this was my first as a gallery employee. Ack! But then my friend/gallery director, Matt Kennedy, handed me a clipboard and woosh! Suddenly, everything changed. My back magically erected into a straighter and more confident line! My mini-shakiness disappeared! I have never, ever publicly carried around a clipboard in my life but let me tell you, it totally infuses you with a new-found vigor and fearlessness. In fact, I'm 99% sure I could fight a bear and win using nothing but a clipboard. Anyway, onto the more important things: The Artwork!
When you first walk in (with or without a clipboard), Steven Daily's paintings zoom out at you immediately because they're just so drippingly sinister and mystic-looking. Bejeweled fetal skeletons! Two-headed mutant lambs! Creepy demons! Skulls and occult symbolism everywhere! These are the exact types of paintings you'd expect to see if you were roaming around a Freemason temple all alone in the dark, completely naked (except for a fez, of course), and accidentally wandered into a super-secret drawing room. You'd look up and there you'd have it: Stephen Daily paintings all over the walls!
"Dichotomy" is my favorite because I'm convinced there's an interesting story going on here. Check out the two skeleton guys on the very left. One is wearing an eyepatch and the other is wearing a monocle. Obviously, they both have afflictions in their right eyes, right? Well, that's why they're buddies/best friends and are always together. Now shift your eyes over to the guy in the back row, all the way at the end on the right. Note that he also has an eye affliction but he's wearing an eye patch on his LEFT eye. The right-eye-afflicted Freemason skeleton couple HATE him and shun him from their group for having his affliction in the wrong eye. Or I guess it could be that they just don't like him because he's a huge jerk. I don't know. In any case, they don't want to be anywhere near him. I asked Steven Daily if that's what was really going on and he didn't confirm or deny it. Suspicious!
Sharing the front space and spilling into the back gallery, Charles Binger's work hangs in all its gorgeous, pulp-fiction glory. This was a real treat because this was the first time in 45 years that his work was being exhibited! Binger was a British painter who was mostly known for his movie posters, portraits of Hollywood celebrities, and paperback covers, including classic sci-fi books "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley and "The Illustrated Man" by Ray Bradbury! In person, his paintings are seriously STUNNING. Sensuous, lush, colorful, and the very epitome of technical perfection. Pulp heaven! Check out the cover to "The Man from Brazil" or "The Golden Trollop" (pictured).
Tammi Otis's exhibition is called "A Fertile Madness" for good reason. The subjects of her paintings are lone, half-clothed women who look like they've taken a giant nosedive straight down the rabbit hole of deliriousness. I'm not exactly sure about the backstory, but all her paintings are done in a beautiful goldleaf and she uses a lot of candy apple red, black, and white - all Japanese kimono colors! That gives her artwork an automatic thumbs up from me, (being Japanese myself). Tammi was incredibly sweet and it filled me with glee to see that she was wearing a candy apple red outfit that perfectly matched her paintings!
The spectacle to end all spectacles was Howard Hallis' mindblowingly micro-detailed masterpiece, "The Picture of Everything." If you've never experienced psychedelics before and want to know what it's like, go stand in front of one of the over-sized lenticular lenses of this piece and rapidly shake your head back and forth while continuing to stare at it. This piece is impressively MASSIVE, measuring a whopping fifteen feet tall by twelve feet wide! Whoa. That's even bigger than an African bull elephant (and almost approaching the size of my clipboard-induced joy)! It's actually so humongous that it actually has to hang at an angle to fit inside the gallery.
While the original piece isn't likely to fit in many people's homes, it is for sale, and I'll be surprised if it doesn't go into a museum collection. For the rest of us, Hallis has made a limited edition (420) of movie poster sized prints (for only $100!). Go visit The Picture of Everything website to view sections in detail!
Well, that's it! My first-ever La Luz de Jesus exhibition report! Add this to your RSS feed, Okay? Bye-bye for now!
PS. Check out some of the reviews: