For his latest body of work, 2018 Beautiful Bizarre Art Prize Finalist, J Louis looked to something that is both ordinary and fantastical for inspiration. Something which everyone experiences on a regular basis, yet is entirely unique to the individual – dreams. Drawing on both the conscious and unconscious dreamscapes of the female muses featured in his work, J created a series of works that merge realist figuration, abstract form and texture.
About the concept behind the exhibition Color Fields, which was recently exhibited at Arcadia Contemporary in Pasadena, California, J Louis stated,
Our dreams are vague, often misunderstood. Yet they are capable of expressing elements of our mind that are locked out of our conscious. This collection of paintings are designed to express the ambiguity and insightfulness of dreaming through whom I believe to be the greatest story tellers, women.
Louis looks to the strong women he grew up around and is surrounded by for muses. He captures a quiet strength in intimate and introspective settings. Meticulously rendered female faces and elongated figures reside amidst abstract fields of saturated color. Arched languorous figures lay across and on flattened surfaces, hair elegantly cascading across the canvas. Drawing on his muses dreams and stories, the artist creates magical universes. Each work captures intimate moments where the otherworldly figures are lost in private thoughts. In doing so, the works ask the viewer to decipher their own unconscious messages.
Working in oil paint, Louis’ energetic brushstrokes are visible across the canvas. Blocks of blue, red and yellow break up the otherwise subdued, muted palette. The artist’s appreciation for Egon Schiele and Mark Rothko are readily apparent, drawing elements from both the Vienna Secessionists and American Expressionists to create an aesthetic that is uniquely his own.
In addition to paintings, he also exhibited a series of sculptures. These raw pigment coated works, are the first sculptures J Louis has ever exhibited. The suspended figures represent the physical embodiments (in other words, the spirits) of the women in the exhibited paintings. These works capture a sense of otherworldly timelessness, and serve as a physical reminder that the while the body will eventually falter, the spirit never fades.
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