Thinkspace Gallery is pleased to present Vanguard, an exciting group exhibition of new works by both the gallery’s established artists and recent additions to its roster; Jolene Lai’s After Midnight, featuring new work by the Los Angeles based artist and illustrator, will concurrently be on display in the gallery’s project room. Both exhibitions run through May 25th; an opening reception with the artists will take place from 6PM to 9PM on Saturday, May 4th.
Vanguard will provide a curated glimpse into the New Contemporary Art Movement with a dynamic selection of artwork representing the diverse range of its artists and their practices. These artists are unified by the shared intent to create exceptional artwork that speaks relevantly to contemporary culture.
Distilling inspiration from a variety of sources including illustration, pop culture, comics, street art, and graffiti, the New Contemporary Art Movement culls its content from the world and presents imagery saturated with powerfully populist forms.
As a movement with its beginnings firmly grounded in Los Angeles, Thinkspace has been a significant conduit and catalyst for its expansion worldwide. While it is young, New Contemporary Art has gained traction and recognition the world over and continues to establish itself as a potentially inveterate art movement with a steadily evolving history.
Vanguard will feature artwork by Thinkspace artists Allison Sommers, Derek Gores, Kevin Peterson, Kikyz 1313, Sarah Joncas, Seth Armstrong, Shark Toof, and Yosuke Ueno, and will also include works from recent gallery additions: Curiot from Mexico, NoseGo from Philadelphia, Jeremy Enecio from Brooklyn, and Halsey Swain from Portland.
Each artist imparts their own unique and unrepeatable contribution to the movement in keeping with its core tenets of accessibility and contemporaneity; their work speaks democratically in a relatable way, and draws from the realities of the contemporary culture in which we are all imbricated.
As an art movement that seeks to reflect popular cultural forms rather than to exclude them, the New Contemporary Art Movement is unified by its diversity and its appeal to shared sensibilities and social currencies.
An aggregate of distinct and yet concomitant voices, each exponent is different and informed by his or her own vision, but each resonates with a desire to show the viewer something identifiable, real, imminent, and firmly grounded in the now. Vanguard will present an inspired cross-section of these exceptional and varied talents, offering a rare opportunity to hear their voices in unison.
Born and raised in Singapore, Jolene Lai’s work unveils an empathetic co-mingling of whimsy and melancholy by tenderly excavating the affective landscapes of happiness and heartbreak, history and contemporaneity. Lai works from a personal wealth of imagination, and an idiosyncratic re-interpretation of cultural narrative. Drawing loosely from traditional Chinese myth and apocryphal anecdotes, and using her personal experiences to re-define this inheritance with irony and wit, Lai’s work offers sensitivity and an uncanny depth. The artist’s paintings are both beautiful and alienating, familiar and other, as she combines thematic polarities and narratives into new spaces, stories, and worlds.
Lai’s work is technically breathtaking and detailed. Working with oil on canvas, or mixed media on watercolor paper, she combines illustrative and graphic elegance with a hyperreal painting style. Inspired by fairytale and story, her characters inhabit worlds of her own devise; at times playful and at others dark. The work’s whimsy and lightness is tempered by the inclusion of powerful juxtapositions, often staging the surreal against the starkness of reality. The artist’s interest in this co-existence of light and dark, play and revelation, reality and fantasy, result in the exquisite tensions of her imagery. The absurd is often coupled with tender punctuations and revealing pathos, while melancholic themes are softened by unexpected humor. Her compositions incorporate intricate traces of pattern and design which allow her to artfully re-invent familiar spaces, transforming the “known” into something entirely new and visionary. The viewer is left with a feeling of having entered a beautiful world at once distant and strangely near.
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