We all need a break from normality from time to time, which is one of the reasons contemporary surrealism can often revive the spirit. Luckily, Copro Gallery are currently exhibiting ‘Morpheus’, in partnership with Morpheus Gallery, bringing this month’s dose into the fantastic and sublime.
Morpheus Gallery began its journey back in 1989, publishing books and prints by the prevalent H.R. Giger. In such a resounding success, Morpheus further extended, working with other surreal artists including Dariusz Zawadzki, Jacek Yerka, Geoggrey Gersten, De Es Schwertberger, Judson Huss, Jota Leal and Zdzislaw Beksinski.
In light of the extraordinary success of Morpheus Gallery’s previous experience, Jota Leal and Dariusz Zawadzki are sharing their work within Copro’s latest exhibition Morpheus, which is being curated by James Cowan and Morpheus Gallery themselves. Both artists bring their own unique styles of surrealism to the show, bouncing off each other’s works and reflecting alternative responses to the world around us. Both of these visionary artists bring some of the best of their current artworks through Copro Gallery’s doors. If you would like to find out more about any of the pieces which are also for sale, be sure to contact Copro Gallery:
July 18, 2015 – August 8, 2015
Monster Close Up – Jota Leal
2525 Michigan Ave. T5, Santa Monica, CA 90404
Self-confessing a true ‘obsession’ for painting, this Venezuelan born caricature and portrait painter has immersed himself in expanding what it is to be human. Using famous faces as muses, audiences can find themselves lost in his sea of alternative realities; pop cult references stand side by side with classical horror and idolised pin-ups – even political and historical figures are not safe. Jota Leal has created dozens of paintings, drawing and mixed media art, nourishing his artistic talents under the encouraging eye of his parents for as long as he could remember.
Even so, Jota (pronounced Hota) found himself surrounded by friends with ‘normal’ jobs, and worked hard before graduating with honors in a degree in electrical engineering. This life was not to last. Gradually, the paint brushes found themselves centre stage once more, and Leal even won the Caricaturist of the Year Award in 2003. With fans absorbing all of his work as fast as he can make it, Leal has even produced a selection of Youtube videos to give audiences an insight into this methods of creation:
Paint it Black/Prodigal Sons painting in progress
Married with Children
Polish artist Zawadzki provides a startling strength and drama to his works. Born in 1958, his eye for detail became clear at an early age, and his affection for the great Polish contemporary masters motivated him to follow in their footsteps. With an elegant use of bold colours Zawadzki playfully manipulates dark and light, using oils to create a depth which only further heightens your reactions to his beautifully dystopian form of surrealism. In his own words:
“Since I was a child I have had various visions and dreams that built surreal worlds in my imagination. These worlds came first, and then I felt a need to express them by drawing…I never use a sketch-book, because I don’t want to force myself to reproduce on a painting something that was already put on paper.
The most beautiful moment is when I’m standing in front of a white, clear board when I am just starting to paint.
When I was eleven years old I started painting. I wanted to go to an artistic secondary school, but I was told that my eyesight is too poor for that. Well, I can’t agree… From then on I’ve been self-teaching and getting to the bottom of painting craft myself. I don’t regret having chosen this path. It may have been more difficult, yet it let me develop my own techniques.”
Mixing elegance, the grotesque and the divine into a melting pot of surrealism, Zawadzki allows us to contemplate characteristics of humanity beyond the flesh, inviting us to look deeper and see into this artist’s emotions that mould each painting stroke by stroke.