Church of the Muskrat Skull by Vega — Vega is of course a close friend and one of my favorite creators and this piece is everything I expect from her. I want to scoop up this little saint and remove her from her treacherous post as keeper of the road kill. This sculpture has such a beautiful message to consider the lives and the suffering of those that are often deemed as beneath our notice.
Springtime in LA means Laluzapaloooza. Every spring La Luz de Jesus plants a bevy of budding artists alongside some of their proven annuals, and the art world swarms in to make bets on who will bloom.
The 28th annual juried group-show opens this Friday, March 7 at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles, California. As always, the show does not have a theme. Every year there are well-known artists alongside complete unknowns. And the show is often considered a gateway not just to showing at La Luz de Jesus, but to showing in many Los Angeles galleries. There’s always tension right around the publishing of the accepted list and artists feel real pressure to make it on the wall.
La Luz de Jesus had an unbelievable 16,000 submissions this year from artists competing for less than 200 spots. I’ll speak frankly and say that I don’t understand all of the included pieces. In fact, quite a few make me say, are you kidding me? But the range of styles and mediums within the alternative and lowbrow art movements are well represented. And it really wouldn’t surprise me if there were other art consumers out there looking at the pieces I’m drawn to and having that, what in the world, why would they pick this?, reaction. The brilliance of this show is that it exposes you to work from artists you’d never make a trip to a gallery to see as well as introducing work from unknown artists whose other work you’ll seek out in the future.
I’ve showcased art from the show in this post, which seduces me with its dark theatrics and technical skill.
New Friend by Horacio Martinez — I’m drawn to the sense of calm and even whimsy in this deeply macabre painting. Here is Death coming to take a child, and yet it is not a moment of horror. I’m so curious to know what inspired the artist to create this scene. There’s a lovely soft quality to this piece as well.
Master Study: Transition (The Bark of Dante / Watson and the Shark) by Christopher Ulrich — I’m almost speechless by this tableau. Christopher Ulrich should’ve been born in the time of the Renaissance Masters. His work seems too grand for a contemporary audience often unable to grasp the subtleties of the allegories he depicts (and I’m including myself in that group). But I feel privileged to see it.
Spiked by Michael Foulkrod — I want to know the woman in this portrait. She seems alluring and impenetrable. I’m also curious about why the artist left the piece looking unfinished beneath her chest.
Final Embrace by JAW Cooper — Jaw Cooper is another artist whose work I’ve been watching for the last several years. This painting does a great job blending Eastern and Western traditions in art. The composition is striking and wistful. There’s a great sadness here.
Deirdre Sullivan-Beeman Black Swan — I like the blending of Fantasy Art and Fine Art in this piece. The golden water is beautiful.
Spider by Gail Potocki — This is a piece that I’m especially curious to see in person because the darkened shrouds give it such a mysterious weight. The figure is creepy and androgynous and I can’t get a sense of time or place. I want to know more.
Norman Rides a Peacock by Briana Bainbridge — I can’t resist a fetal skull. I can’t do it. I want to hold dead baby Norman and pet his peacock and have a lovely day together at the Arboretum.
LaLuzapalooza is on display at La Luz de Jesus through March 30. For more information or to see more previews from the show, visit La Luz de Jesus’s website.