Downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery is proud to announce a four-artist show featuring Swiss contemporary painter Franc Kaiser, American contemporary artist Josh Keyes, Colombian artist Miguel Escobar Uribe, and world-renowned Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel. Titled Animalia, the four-artist show opens Saturday, August 14th in Gallery 2.
Animals have long been part of the art story. They’ve been portrayed in religious rituals, as mythical creatures, incarnations of gods and goddesses, symbolically in Christian art, or simply as pets. Animalia present a new generation of animals featuring new series of works by four artists from around the world.
About Franc Kaiser’s new series Catabolic:
Kaiser is a Swiss national that has been living in China for the past two decades. Kaiser is a self-taught painter who works with acrylics on cardboard to create haunting, realistic creatures interspersed with fantastic tropes. His work explores the repressed consciousness of the food chain and the ruthless biology of life.
Regarding Kaiser’s new series, titled Catabolic, the artist shares, “I’m interested in speculative states of consciousness within non-human life forms represented by cats. I often wonder what’s going in their minds. Are they aware? Is their awareness evolving? And if their intelligence is evolving, will it all lead to George Orwell’s Animal Farm? My work attempts to ‘re-Disney-fy’ animals – to make them more of what they are (or what they could be) instead of further humanizing them. My choice to use cats was random – it could have been any living form. Although, Sphynx cats offer themselves as an ideal subject due to their otherworldly looks.
When working on my pieces, a question races through my mind about humanity’s own levels of consciousness, awareness, and intelligence. My subjects use tools and objects from human civilization from different time periods. Some of the most significant objects are weapons, which parallel the animal’s own predatory instincts. I am also inspired by sci-fi illustrations and images. Not in the sense of pop culture references, but as genuine articles placed within the world that the cats are moving and evolving in. The cats exist in a specific yet mysterious timeframe of the 21st Century, with China as the leading world power and the future exporter of culture and ideas. The cats are the harbingers of this near future. The feeling that something colossal is happening but ignored.
My goal is not to achieve photorealism. Yet, realistic details and overall appearance of the creatures are important to me, as I want to viewer to feel a sensation from this vivid world I’ve created.”
About Josh Keyes’ new series Inside Out:
Josh Keyes is a nationally and internationally exhibited contemporary artist from Portland, Oregon. Keyes’ style is reminiscent of the diagrammatic vocabulary found in scientific textbook illustrations that often express through a detached and clinical viewpoint an empirical representation of the natural world.
Regarding Keyes’ new series, titled Inside Out, the artist shares, “This recent series of paintings evolved from the shared experience that has gripped and held the world in isolation. The juxtaposition of the natural world, in particular, animal imagery contrasted with the fence and grid of the concrete world, has been a continuous theme running throughout my work. From a psychological interpretation, it illustrates the inertia of our instincts, subjugated by institutions, be they external social constructs or internal personal demons. In a time when salvation and hell are held in a flat cold screen, there emerges a desire for another ‘place’ without time or name. The personification of the self as an animal, breaking free or longing to be released from institutional culture or self-imprisoning boundaries. ‘Inside’ is here to there, ‘Outside’ is everywhere. Hope is a search for the equilibrium between the two, the somewhere.
These are a personal expression of the confinement and desperate need to be free of broken histories, both personal and cultural. They symbolize a break and shed of self, both physical and ideological. A desire to leap, escape, into some form of renewal. And it may be too late to leap and expect to land in the burning arms of nature. There have been and continue to be so many cracks in the foundation of what was perceived as culture, identity, justice, equality, and on and on. The billboard facades and plastic smiles, the medicated equanimity, and blind culture have been torn open. Golden masks shattered and dormant demons revealed and set free. Viral videos of chaos and shockwaves blend deep into our dreams. Joy, a weathered sign by a forgotten road, stared at forever by a security camera. The tremor and hum of endless anxiety, of earth, nature, and our existence, constricted so tightly, punctuated with the lift off of an elite class of golden angels who dream of escaping into the stars, looking for white space.”
About Miguel Escobar Uribe new series Perfume:
Miguel Escobar Uribeis aColombian figurative painter whose works have found homes in collections around the globe.
Regarding Uribe’s newest series, titled Perfume, the artist shares, “The title of the show comes from the aroma of the petals, and how people use petals to make lotions and cologne. I want the viewer to smell the petals. Petals are occupying spaces of human beings that I intended as an indirect portrait of society. I paint concentrations of reality, but not reality itself. I represent the human condition through symbols, leaving room for the viewers to interpret the paintings based on their own experience, sensitivity, and knowledge of art and history. Very often, I see my work as the photogram of a film. As an instant, frozen in time. Nothing in the works are lacking or in excess; a perfect balance that can be achieved with a lot, or with a little. A great example of this is the photographs of Tim Walker. I’m a huge fan of Walker’s work.
The appearance of greyhounds (as illustrated in ‘Alligators,’ [seen below]) have been widely used in art throughout history, notably in works from Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and Jan Brueghel the Elder but they are not the protagonist. In this instance, I feel a deep connection with the golden age painters like Jan Weenix.
My creative process starts with an idea that I sketch in my notebook that is always with me. The first sketch is substitutive, unfinished. It substitutes the idea that I just had, but very abstractly, very quickly. Ideas also can come from dreams or while I watch a documentary. Ideas sometime attack me and become obsessions that stay with me for years. After I form the idea I focus on materializing. We need to bring it down to reality. I use photography, live models, and my imagination when materializing. Everything contributes to the creation of the artwork, which is what matters. It´s definitive.”
About Okuda San Miguel’s new series:
Okuda San Miguel’s distinctive style of geometric harmonies, emboldened with intense colors, can make his artworks feel like they’re from a parallel universe. His work, which could be categorized as Pop Surrealism with a clear essence of street forms, features rainbow geometric architectures blending with organic shapes, bodies without identity, headless animals, and symbols that encourage reflection. San Miguel’s works often raise questions about existentialism, the universe, the infinite, the meaning of life, and the contradictions of society’s false freedom, showing a conflict between modernity and our roots; ultimately, between man and the same.
The artist’s inventory has always been filled with animals, as he’s a firm believer in the beautiful diversity of animals. Regarding San Miguel’s newest series, the artist shares, “I like to work with a wide range of animal and human shapes, each with their corresponding meanings. I like to explore the potential of mutations between them and between animals and humans, playing with their scales and creating impossible digital creatures. At the same time, I tend to situate humans and nature on the same level to arrive at a universal equilibrium. At its heart, it’s a metaphorical way of defining God. My art talks about the past and the future, modernity and our roots, and the ability of human beings to transform nature. For me, color represents multiculturalism, different genders, plurality…flags, races, genders…they’re all there. Color is part of my basic psychology. My use of all the different colors shows that we are, in fact, one. On the other hand, my use of geometry represents modernity, the digital world. The dialog between the organic/natural, on the one hand, and the future/artificial, on the other, has been a constant throughout my career. This is in contrast to a modern society that has cut off all communication with its spirituality and has failed to respect nature. In doing so, society has sown the seeds of its destruction. I try to open paths instead of giving closed answers. For me, it’s not the solution that’s important, it’s the path that takes you there. My message is fixed. It’s open to interpretation, both for people who see my work in the street and gallery viewers.”
About Franc Kaiser:
Franc Kaiser is a Swiss national living in China for the last two decades. He is a self-taught painter, working with acrylics on large cardboards to create haunting, realistic creatures interspersed with fantastic tropes. His subjects of choice are often small domestic animals with grand surreal or sci-fi themes. Kaiser explores themes such as our repressed consciousness of the food chain and the ruthless biology of life. His first international exhibition was with two paintings at a group show at Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery in November 2021.
About Josh Keyes:
Born in 1969 in Tacoma, Washington, Josh Keyes received his BFA in 1992 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in 1998 from Yale University School of Art. He has exhibited his work nationally and internationally and has work in private and public collections. Keyes currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Lisa Ericson and daughter.
About Miguel Escobar Uribe:
The 30-year-old Colombia native Miguel Escobar Uribe studied at the Angel Academy of Art in Florence, Italy, before going onto learn from fellow artists such as Odd Nerdrum in Norway, David Manzur in Colombia, and Vincent Desiderio in Belgium, and Steven Assael in New York City. The artist has taken part in group and solo shows in Italy, the U.S., Mexico, Spain, Philippines, and Colombia.
About Okuda San Miguel:
Okuda’s distinctive style of geometric harmonies emboldened with intense colors can make his artworks feel like they’re from a parallel universe. In his work, rainbow geometric architectures blend with organic shapes, bodies without identity, headless animals and symbols that encourage reflection in artistic pieces that could be categorized as Pop Surrealism with a clear essence of street forms. His works often raise questions about existentialism, the universe, the infinite, the meaning of life, and the contradictions of society’s false freedom, showing a conflict between modernity and our roots; ultimately, between man and the same.
About Corey Helford Gallery:
Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) was first established in 2006 by Jan Corey Helford and her husband, television producer and creator, Bruce Helford (The Conners, Anger Management, The Drew Carey Show, George Lopez) and has since evolved into one of the premier galleries of New Contemporary art. Its goals as an institution are the support and growth of young and emerging, to well-known and internationally established artists. CHG represents a diverse collection of international artists, primarily influenced by today’s pop culture and collectively encompassing style genres such as New Figurative Art, Pop Surrealism, Neo Pop, Graffiti and Street Art. CHG is located in Downtown Los Angeles in a robust 12,000 square foot building, presenting new exhibitions approximately every six weeks.
Corey Helford Gallery is located at 571 S. Anderson St. Los Angeles, CA 90033 and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, with visiting hours being Thursday through Saturday from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm. For more info and an upcoming exhibition schedule, visit CoreyHelfordGallery.com and connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. For available prints from CHG, visit CHGPrints.com.
August 14, 2021 | 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
August 14 – September 18, 2021
COREY HELFORD GALLERY
571 S. Anderson St. Los Angeles, CA 90033
Open: Tuesday-Saturday, 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Visiting Hours: Thursday-Saturday, 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm