Photos: Brandon Shigeta
Photos: Brandon Shigeta
About PATRICK MARTINEZ
Known Gallery is very pleased to present “Lovely Day”, a solo show by contemporary artist Patrick Martinez.
Martinez, a diverse young artist, is known for his lush colorful paintings and portraits set in the Los Angeles streets, his neon works that play on hip-hop themes, his sculptures and his limited-edition objects. For “Lovely Day,” he revisits the Los Angeles landscape. “It’s crazy to me that I wake up to beautiful days here in L.A., but they are juxtaposed with the ‘evil’ things that happen in this sublime city. That’s the inspiration for the show,” says Martinez.
For the piece upon which the exhibition is based, a still-life painting with a layer of neon, spelling Lovely Day on top, Martinez says: “I painted a bed of flowers typical to Los Angeles and took what I was doing with neon which is inspired by L.A. store fronts and combined the two. The result was the piece ‘Lovely Day,’ which was also the first piece I created in this body of work.” The theme is seldom addressed in contemporary art and one that intrigues Martinez. Many of his new works have similarly glossy exteriors with dark undertones.
Another paradox Martinez explores is the male psyche, as exemplified in his painting “Culture of Honor,” which depicts a thuggish man festooned with a child’s flotation device or “floatie.” Says Martinez: “I wanted to use a Los Angeles male archetype to present this idea: It’s a beach setting. The proud male doesn’t know how to swim, but he’s sporting this ‘I don’t give a shit’ attitude – but he really does care. Moreover, he doesn’t want to drown.”
“Culture of Honor” is one of the show’s highlights, as are two vending machines, like those typically found in L.A. car washes, laundromats and liquor stores. They have been loaded with custom sculpted toys in plastic capsules cast in various materials. One of the items is a sticky hand “West Coast version,” the other is a piece of cheese and a plastic pig finger puppet. The vending machines also vend prismatic stickers with images of Martinez’s new neon pieces.
Patrick Martinez is one of the most exciting young artists in Los Angeles at the moment. He has exhibited in Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, The Netherlands, Toronto and Hawaii. Complex magazine recently named Martinez one of its “Most Important Artists of 2011” and one of its “Most Influential Artists of the Complex Decade.”
About AARON DE LA CRUZ
Known Gallery is proud to present “Some Thing Else,” a solo show of new works by artist Aaron De La Cruz.
For his most recent body of work, De La Cruz explores the idea of working within the constraints of a resourceful manner creating in his reproductive process a sustainable product. His work retains its signature minimal touch utilizing black ink on an applied surface as well as introducing to the viewer a more interactive and three dimensional form exploring surface. De La Cruz keeps the work non subjective, many pieces in the show are created with the intent that they can be used as “something else,” creating an interactive dialogue between the work and viewer’s imagination.
From his large matte black inverted sculptures to stark two dimensional ink paintings, De La Cruz bridges the gaps between fine art and design, the sum of its parts being simultaneously both practical and decorative. The artist’s cryptic line work invoke an archeological inquisition that is suggestive of both ancient Mayan hieroglyphics and contemporary graffiti, allowing the viewer to relate, interpret and decipher the work on their own terms.
Staying true to the show’s title, “Some Thing Else,” De La Cruz pushes his own personal boundaries with a diverse and multifaceted exhibition. Much as his crisp lines weave throughout his individual works like strings through fabric, the aesthetic elements of his unique voice find themselves manifested in a variety of mediums while remaining a cohesive and compelling whole. Furthering the artist’s amalgamation of art and design, “Some Thing Else” will also feature the debut of De La Cruz’s accessory line and custom crafted jewelry.
“Some Thing Else” will be the artist’s second Los Angeles solo exhibition following his acclaimed large scale showing at the Arkitip Project Space in 2012. More recently, De La Cruz has shown at Honolulu’s Loft in Space where he is a regular contributor to the seminal Pow Wow arts and culture annual event. In 2011, the artist was ranked one of the 25 Most Important Artists by Complex Magazine and his work has been commissioned by several high profile clients including the Toyota Prius Project. The artist lives and works in San Francisco.