This weekend Thinkspace Projects proudly presents solo exhibitions by Reen Barrera, Sarah Joncas, Spime, Benzilla, Cody Jimenez and Michael Gates. Six new bodies of work to pique our senses and inspire the depths of imaginations. Distinct styles, narratives, and unexpected imagery fuse the creative ideations of the artist, bewitching viewers with compositional complexities. Inviting us to join the celebration, we lean in – gazing a little a longer – and the emotional response transports our thoughts. We are immersed, emotionally and visually invested.
Plus don’t miss ‘LAX / AMS’ THINKSPACE X STRAAT group show on view through July 30th at STRAAT Museum, Amsterdam Netherlands.
Thinkspace Projects also offers a full schedule of events, interviews, and much more to keep you and your creative needs fully immersed. Be sure to follow their blog Sour Harvest to stay updated on all the artsy things you love! If you’re looking to add to your own collection of art, take a moment and visit their online store to view available inventory.
Thinkspace Projects Presents
Reen Barrera, Sarah Joncas, Spime,
Benzilla, Cody Jimenez, Michael Gates
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 8, 2023 | 6-10pm
Exhibition Dates: July 8, 2023 – July 29, 2023
With DJ, refreshments, live painting, video projections and more!
4217 W. Jefferson Blvd. | Los Angeles, CA 90016
#310.558.3375 | Tues. – Sat. Noon to 6PM
For all inquiries please contact the gallery via email at [email protected]
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About the Gallery //
Thinkspace Projects was founded in 2005; now in LA’s burgeoning West Adams District, the gallery has garnered an international reputation as one of the most active and productive exponents of the New Contemporary Art Movement. Maintaining its founding commitment to the promotion and support of its artists, Thinkspace Projects has steadily expanded its roster and diversified its projects, creating collaborative and institutional opportunities all over the world. Founded in the spirit of forging recognition for young, emerging, and lesser-known talents, the gallery is now home to artists from all over the world, ranging from the emerging, mid-career, and established.
The New Contemporary Art Movement, not unlike its earlier 20th Century counterparts like Surrealism, Dada, or Fauvism, ultimately materialized in search of new forms, content, and expressions that cited rather than disavowed the individual and the social. The earliest incarnations of the Movement, refusing the paradigmatic disinterest of “Art” as an inaccessible garrison of ‘high culture’, championed figuration, surrealism, representation, pop culture, and the subcultural.
By incorporating the ‘lowbrow,’ accessible, and even profane, an exciting and irreverent art movement grew in defiance of the mandated renunciations of “high” art. Emerging on the West Coast in the 90’s partly as a response to the rabid ‘conceptual-turn’ then championed on the East Coasts, the Movement steadily created its own platforms, publications, and spaces for the dissemination of its imagery and ideas.
Reen Barrera returns to Thinkspace Projects with his latest solo show, marking his biggest undertaking to date, both with the gallery and in his career thus far. With an array of new works on canvas alongside a new collection of his signature hand made sculptures, Barrera has created a show that is light and playful, while brimming with profound meaning and deep emotion.
With Emotional Meat, Barrera explores the contemporary generation’s frantic demand for struggles and hustles. As many are fixated on succeeding, motivated by individualistic rationalities, often a disregard for the important aspect of one’s existence comes to light.
Imploring audiences to find their true pack, embrace family-whether chosen or genetic-Barrera reminds us to take a break from the grind and pay attention to what is truly important.
The memories, events, and essences that surround our lives that are often ignored are the ones that usually should be given importance. To hold dear with all our might.Reen Barrera
In line with his previous work, Barrera has taken the idiom “it’s written all over your face” to heart and beyond, crafting his work around a central character he created early on in his career as an artist. Ohlala embodies Barrera’s thoughts, displaying them through a variety of colors painted on the being’s face. This serves as a mechanism to silently communicate, focusing on the unspoken rather than what is loud and clear.
Inspired by his “toy deprived” childhood, Filipino artist Reen Barrera repurposes found materials into mixed media figurative sculptures and paintings. The facial expressions and symbols and patterns in the artist’s Ohlala characters are drawn from the idiom “it’s written all over your face” and represent the power individuals have in designing their own fate. Barrera’s work provides a provocative conversation on the challenges of socio-economic circumstances and classism.
Toronto-based Sarah Joncas returns to Thinkspace Project, having first exhibited with the gallery in 2009 when she was only 19 years old. Since then, her accomplished work has developed technically and conceptually, garnering international attention for its moody stylization and emotive impact. Now, she brings Upon Another Shore, her latest collection of works displaying primarily female subjects that function as alter egos or symbolic avatars for social, psychological, and personal themes.
In this show, the figurative becomes a vehicle for more existential and constructivist emphases, an armature around which to posit narrative suggestions and symbolic inferences. Always striving to create a moment of discomposure or tension in her works, Joncas aestheticizes with melancholy and melodrama, tapping into an emotionally charged visual spectrum.
Highly refined areas of figurative rendering, like the lush skin tones she achieves with oils, are combined with elements of a more graphic sensibility, executed in acrylics, to establish compelling visual tensions between realistic dimensional space and flattened stylization, which nods to her roots in illustration and animation. An early interest in animé and manga, as well as in those neo-noir cinematic references aforementioned, helped to galvanize Joncas’ interest in character-based works.
Often posited in heightened emotional contexts, her protagonists are framed by suspenseful allusions to an overarching story or caught in the midst of ambiguous or invisible unfolding scenes. This penchant for plot, mystery, and symbolism is captured in moments of dynamic stillness in which action is both suggested and seized. The surrounding elements in her works, whether animals, objects or patterns, take on concomitant meanings, further reinforcing the larger thematic intimations of her works.
Sarah Joncas was born in 1986 and grew up in both Hamilton and Niagara Falls, Ontario. Her interest in the visual arts developed at an early age, starting with the dedicated drawings of dinosaurs and lizards. Eventually the study and enjoyment of working from existing images stirred up the need in Sarah to create images of her own; ones that could reflect the world, yet also appease the personal feelings/ideas that she maintained. With this, her direction changed gradually from the world of animation, towards a path in fine art. Sarah graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design’s BFA program. She currently resides and works out of Mississauga, Canada
Spime brings her intuitive paintings of varying scale to Thinkspace Projects with Fish Out of Filtered Water. She embeds and juxtaposes personal imagery of the present, while critically engaging with the culturally and emotionally determined actions of the past.
In Fish Out of Filtered Water, Spime marks the inception of an idea with the inclusion of works on paper. For Spime, fragmented drawings are a reflection of progress in an accelerating society or attention economy. ‘You have to be as fast as possible and as omnipresent as possible,’ she explains. ‘The drawings become a form of subconscious diaries of the everyday psyche, while exercising a sense of letting go of the outcome of work, because to create new ideas means letting go of control.’
Spime’s paintings often read as an introspective reality of subconscious activities-reveries, dreams, and memories, exploring the complexity of identity, identity-formation and their forms of expression. Her work is characterized by figures in a whimsical shape, artificial hues, and flatness. While the main figure plays a central role in each work, the background remains as an unknown place that leads the viewer to mull over the meaning of the images. With the recurring motifs throughout Spike’s paintings – the border between day and night, fruits that evoke color prejudice, orbs implying glances – the artist speaks about our desire to belong and contemporary emotional states in a sequenced narrative.
In addition to this show, Thinkspace Projects presents Reen Barrera’s Emotional Meat, Sarah Joncas’s Upon Another Shore, Benzilla’s Alter Ego, and new works from Cody Jimenez and Michael Gates. These shows open July 8, 2023 with a reception from 6PM to 10PM. They will remain on view until July 29, 2023 at Thinkspace Projects.
Born in Montreal, Canada, and growing up in Hong Kong, Spime constantly seeks to bridge a gap between two cultures. Noticing the cultural differences as she tried to find a place for herself, Spime gained awareness of the surrounding diaspora, which led her to creating her own world where she could float across the boundaries of time and space.
In the past year, she has exhibited solo shows with Haus of Contemporary (Hong Kong) and LKIF (Seoul, South Korea). Group exhibitions include, GR Gallery (New York, NY), Maddox Gallery (London, UK) and Waluso Galler (London, UK).
Thinkspace is excited to present new work by Benzilla, born Parinya Sirisinsuk. Alter Ego challenges boundaries, ignites contemplation, and humbly invites viewers to explore the intricate complexities of our world.
With his signature 3-eyed alien “LOOOK,” Benzilla guides viewers through an exploration of paradox. Within the depths of each of us exists both the fiercest enemy and the most loyal companion. In these works that span mediums, Benzilla urges viewers to engage in a conversation with their inner selves, listening intently for answers.
As he explains, “Through introspection, we shall uncover the essence of who we strive to become and what we yearn to achieve in this extraordinary journey called life.”
Weaving together traditional painting, spray paint, and graphic art, Benzilla welcomes audiences to delve into the realm of curiosity and embark on an enlightening journey through the artistic.
Parinya Sirisinsuk, aka Benzilla, born in Bangkok, Thailand, is a graduate of Fine and Applied Art from Bangkok University, who has found profound inspiration in the realms of Pop Culture, Street art, Mythology, and Sci-Fiction Guided by the character “LOOOK,” 3 eyes alien that presents a concept of perspective of an outsider, Parinya combines the techniques of craft painting, spray painting, and graphic art to craft a mesmerizing narrative.
Cody Jimenez explores a world where emotions are embodied in physical forms. The emotions are represented through vibrant colors and shapes that affect their environment and characters around them. By using physical representations of those emotions, he investigates the dualities of beauty and danger that mirror mysterious forces he experiences in his life.
Cody Jimenez is a Mexican-American artist whose work focuses on the natural world through a lens of Imaginative Realism. He received his BFA in painting from NMSU in 2014 and MFA in painting from LCAD in 2017. His work has been exhibited throughout the country, including Los Angeles, CA, Denver, CO, Baton Rouge, LA, and Santa Fe, NM.
Michael Gates ia multi-generational pottery maker based in Asheville, North Carolina.
Traditional elements from the 1800s and forward in the Catawba Valley, North Carolina area have influenced my forms, glazes, clays, process, and decoration. Elements of the Reinhardt lineage of potters in my family, specifically, have made their way into my more contemporary work. However, with less importance on making functional ware as they did in this pre-industrialized era, I have the luxury to spend more time on decoration, concept, and the whimsical. I have an affinity for making the traditional family pieces in the traditional way, yet I also enjoy making something that’s new and different. Combining the two is what I enjoy the most about my work.Michael Gates