Brilliant New Faces is a group exhibition featuring 6 artists from across the globe, premiering on May 11th and May 13th at Allouche Gallery LA from 6-9pm.
Although their unique visual languages differ, all artists share interest in portraits and figures. Their inspirations range from Teiji Hayama’s distorted rendition of Marilyn Monroe, to Jade Kim’s dreamy illustrative character based on his wife, “Min.”
Through their diversity of subject and style, the artists represented in “Brilliant New Faces” remind us why the ancient genre prevails. Some of their worlds are bold and sensual like Fatima de Juan’s large-scale female portraits. Fatima’s graffiti roots translate seamlessly onto canvas; her amazonian women wield fruity swords with acrylic nails. Recently featured as the cover artist in Juxtapose Magazine, Fatima, or Xena, explains the muse behind her figures; “I suppose there is something of a self-portrait in all of them. My inner girl. They are women who live in my personal imagination, they are my girl gang, there is something of my alter-ego in all of them.”
For others, their work is intimate and melancholic like Sasha December’s youthful protagonist. December's paintings explore the societal pressures she grappled with as a young girl including: femininity, popularity, self-fulfillment and loneliness. Sasha’s character is inspired by a dreamy mix of her sister and the girl she always wished she could be — edgy, mysterious, detached.
Jade Kim’s character, “Min,” is a reflection of his wife’s hopes and dreams. He paints her delicate and wide-eyed, amongst varying landscapes, signaling the transient nature of memory in the midst of an ever-changing world. The task of representation then becomes not so much about capturing a photo realistic image of the human form, but a certain emotional essence, a poetic longing.
Alternatively, Juan de la Rica’s work is an expression of the form itself. His subjects change but his style remains consistent: flat saturated colors with clean lines and geometric precision. As Juan says of his work, "I see it a bit like the paradox of figurative painting: painters are constantly looking for interesting subjects, when what is really interesting is the painting itself.” His work is a reflection of his knowledge and love for art history, taking inspiration from Italian Quattrocento, while making it wholly his own.
Meanwhile, Teiji Hayama’s subjects are key in his practice: pop icons like Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Twiggy are blurred, layered and distorted in uncanny ways. Hayama’s process mirrors the concepts of his portraits; he first renders the portrait digitally allowing him to manipulate the image to his desire, after which he paints it onto canvas. Through this overproduction of icons layered on top of each other, Hayama invokes a larger social condition at play: the technologies that seemingly represent us actually limit our potential to meaningfully connect with others.
And finally, in multi-disciplinary artist Sheena Rose’s world, hope and ambition are key. Rose’s anonymous athletic figures pose, leap and dive through colorful courts and arenas. Her work is both personal and political, taking inspiration from her Caribbean roots and personal struggles. Rose was diagnosed with Lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease. Through positioning her subjects in the midst of intense sport, Rose is able to occupy those spaces that would otherwise be inaccessible to her. In doing so, she demonstrates that Black lives are abundant with possibility, and worthy of celebration.