Richard Heller Gallery is proud to announce our second solo exhibition with Stockholm, Sweden-based artist, Joakim Ojanen.

Joakim Ojanen’s artwork embodies the inner child within all of us. He creates a deeply personal universe full of unique characters that automatically win the heart of the viewer with their sincerity. His paintings and ceramic sculptures capture genuine moments of human expression. When they are grouped together they create delicate and emotionally charged narratives. While maintaining a sense of humor they manage to hit an intense spot in the human psyche, perhaps a subconscious adolescent need none of us ever get over; the desire to belong. Piece by piece each of Ojanen’s works tells a story about finding one’s way in the world and reminds us it’s okay to be ourselves.

(Laura Mylott Manning)

In Ojanen's new body of work, he expands into more complex motifs and materials. Ojanen's glazed ceramic, “Flower Eyes, Yin Yang Shirt, and Polka Dot Dress,” is a young woman in a yellow, bell-shaped, dress, who plaintively holds a vase containing a wilted thistle. Her eyes pop out of her head and morph into delicate flowers. Her dress, surrounded by flowers, features a cave-like hole, which reveals a pair of bare feet that straddle a small detached head. Ojanen has also created two large-scale bronze sculptures, multiple charcoal drawings, and several oil paintings, for the exhibition. In Ojanen's bronze sculpture, “Bossy Bird Claimed My Nose In The Park,” a drunk and queasy park denizen awakens to find his extended Pinocchio/Giacometti nose has been taken over by a nesting bird.

A multi-disciplinary artist, Ojanen has spent the last few months creating this body of work in a studio that was graciously provided by Long Beach City College.