Los Angeles has always held a special place in the hearts and minds of Americans, but for most it exists in an almost fictional capacity. Hollywood isn’t a real place – it’s a postcard, a huge sign on the side of a mountain bracketed with strategically placed palm tree silhouettes. Certainly not a place to call home, but for artist Justin John Greene that’s exactly what it is. Hollywood is a part of his heritage, and the work reflects that. Born and raised in the Los Angeles area, Greene’s work is strongly imbued with the history of the most romanticized industry in American culture. In his most recent solo show at Actual Size (an exhibition space he co-runs in the Chinatown gallery district of east L.A.) the influence of the film industry is in full focus. You Oughta Be In Pictures is a comprehensive installation that utilizes painting, sculpture, and video to create a truly immersive experience for the viewer. Installation may seem like a bit of a leap from Greene’s primarily two dimensional practice, but a closer look into the artist’s process bridges the gap seamlessly. His work is a distinctly enjoyable blend of sly historical references, direct compositional tactics, and cleverly applied humor. If you have the opportunity to see the work in person I strongly encourage you to do so.
With a display of dominating opulence, feminine vice, and diamond dust, Lauren Gibbes’s paintings masterfully deconstruct traditional romantic narratives and flourish as examples of modern Rococo. Born in the south and currently working out of Ashville, NC, Gibbes draws influence from beauty pageants, magazine ads, exhibitions of decadence, and the legacy of southern charm and chivalry. Her work is both beautiful and confrontational. Lauren Gibbes is represented by Galeria Bickar.
Baltimore-based artist, Dan Everett, has a great body of work that really packs in a detailed glimpse into the artist’s comedically strange mind. With inspiration coming form Indian miniatures and Buddhist Mandalas, Everett’s pieces feature bizarre characters that are born from a stream-of-conscience making process. As a way to give back to the city he works in, Everett displays his work throughout the town by hanging them on abandoned buildings. We’ve got a great selection posted here, but be sure to take a peak at his portfolio site.
In Jessica Langley‘s artwork, the staid landscape genre is revivified through jokes, ha-has, and a reworking of the conceptual apparatus attached to depicting the environment. Langley, a adjunct associate professor of art at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, creates new avenues at the margins of “landscape,” by interrogating its space in the human imagination rather than in its physical fact. For instance, in the series Outfitters, Langley explores the troubling conflation of killing nature with loving nature by using the brand names of hunting apparel companies like “Real Tree,” “Open Country,” and “Forever Wild” as edifying doses of black humor. In The Awwand Make CATopia Real (with Ben Kingsley) series, Langley uses kit-kats as a method to defuse all that modernist baggage that accompanies human quests for utopia. But what is CATopia? Extensive networks of imposing cat towers to play on? Free nip for all? It’s unclear, but Langley compels us to consider it worth purrsuing.
Langley is the first artist participating in Skylab Gallery‘s new artist-in-residence program in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Her exhibition at Skylab opens at the end of May 2012. Until then, view more of her work after the jump.
I feel like most people dream of falling in love one day, but what if that day turns into a year – and then another? What if the act of falling in love becomes an all-consuming force that necessitates the creation of your own color-coded language? What if your name is Michelle Jane Lee, and this series of ‘what ifs’ has actually been your life for the last three years? The end result of that experience might resemble a thirty-foot love letter and a mountain of other drawings representing your unmentionable thoughts and desires for a woman that would ultimately come to reject you. A hard pill to swallow for most, but Lee seems undeterred in her pursuit of the unattainable. After all, true obsession is captivating – for both artist and audience in this case. Her work is incredibly personal, absolutely honest, and exceptionally beautiful. If you are in or around Los Angeles on April 7th – I recommend that you attend the opening reception of her most recent solo exhibition at Gallery 3209.
What sets Adam Roth apart from other illustrators is that you can actually go beyond the initial surface-level awesomeness of his pieces. For example, the burger warrior above is rad as hell, right? However, it’s not just that. It’s also got Adam’s pain, joy, and personal nature infused into it, making it more of a fine artwork then just a cartoon rendering of a cheeseburger gladiator. To most of us, action figures were toys we played with as children just for fun. Yet, to Adam Roth, they mean so much more, as you’ll find out in the interview below. They’re his muses. They’re his models. And they’re part of the reason Adam is one of the most unique artists I’ve come across in Los Angeles. So, in order to give you a full spectrum of his world, I’ve carefully curated the following images so you’re not just seeing Adam’s paintings, but you’re also getting a glimpse at the toys in his collection that inspire many of his works. Adam will be featured in the upcoming exhibit VOID: In the Nether Regions, which opens on April 12th  at Homeroom Gallery in Los Angeles.
Painter Jen Garrido’s work is bold, simple, yet elegant. Her work reminds me of papercuts, but I love seeing the slight paint texture in each piece. Her work is a combo of small textural paintings, and small minimal works that seem to fit together just right. Her two styles compliment one another instead of challenging. I’d be curious to see what she can do with much larger works in the future.
Antonia Gurkovska just graduated from the MFA program at SAIC and already has already landed a solo exhibition in Chicago’s Kavi Gupta Gallery and is exhibiting in the Armory Show. She favors surfaces that are stapled and dripped, sticky, slippery and oozing, emulating dripping orifices; but they somehow remain extremely neat, hygienic, settling in even, grid-like formations. A variety of painting materials are layered thickly, then crudely sliced to reveal further layers beneath, so the paintings appear reductive rather than additive. Her bubble wrap pieces, neither sculpture nor painting, serve to both reiterate her aesthetic of ovular forms and invite a reversal of material reading, where the packaging product sheds its banal connotations and instead becomes a beautiful, bulging, golden grid.