Review of LA Art Show 2015, California, United States

The Los Angeles Art Show is an international encyclopedic art exhibition, the most comprehensive international contemporary art show in America. The 20th Annual LA Art Show, last from 14-18 January, 2015 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, as the largest and longest running platform for modern, contemporary, historic and traditional fine art, bringing in more than 120 galleries representing 22 countries, exhibiting painting, sculpture, works on paper, installation, photography, design, video & performance.

The LA Art Show has become the most internationally diverse art platform in the Western world, bringing in the largest groupings of Korean, Chinese and Japanese galleries outside of Asia. The LA Art Show has actively developed its international gallery offerings to provide collectors with a unique opportunity, to spot international trends and zeitgeist through art, a medium that has the ability to transcend language. The show features two ditinct sections: The Modern & Contemporary Section and the Historic & Traditional Contemporary Section.

Celebrating its twentieth anniversary, the show has blossomed from a small regional event into one of the largest and longest running fine art platforms. This year’s show featured a diverse array of artistic genres, from fine art to street art and graffiti. Special exhibitions focused on international work, highlighting Chinese, Japanese and Korean contemporary art.

Leading global art trends, the LA Art Show has consistently been a stomping ground for established artists, it is also a launching pad for emerging talent to showcase what’s now and next in art. Three major trends through- out the show were the use of monochromatic colors, experimentation with a variety of media and materials to generate texture, and works that incorporate the illusion of movement.

In addition to viewing the finest works displayed, admission to the show also includes the opportunity to enjoy the show’s stimulating Dialogs LA, special exhibitions, installations and performances, featuring internationally renowned artists, curators, critics and art professionals.

More than 180,000 square feet of exhibition space is committed to today’s prominent galleries. These domestic and international galleries, beyond their booths, curate special exhibits that are at the forefront of the burgeoning contemporary art movement. The fair offers an extraordinary array of works and experiences in specialized sections.

LA Art Show 2015
Los Angeles has emerged as a global epicenter of art & culture, with a distinct, interwoven multi-cultural influence unique to the city. Diversity is our strength and art is most impactful when it includes or transcends all borders. As LA rises as the world-class destination for art, the LA Art Show continues to lead the way with innovative programming and one-of-a-kind experiences for an expanding collecting audience.

LA Art show is the unparalleled international art experience. In the 2015 show has refined its focus creating a freshly curated fair offering visitors and collectors a new hosted art experience devoted to Modern and Contemporary art. The show continues to evolve in a new and exciting direction reflecting how LA is making its mark as a rising world-class destination for art.

In recent years, the LA Art Show has become the most internationally diverse art platform in the Western world, bringing in the largest groupings of Korean, Chinese and Japanese galleries outside of Asia. There is everything for everyone, from contemporary painting to mixed media and even traditional and representational works. This diverse, exciting art fair is designed with the true collector in mind, showcasing many artistic genres and styles to capture the essence of the ever-evolving art market.

The fair focus on Latin America and the Pacific Rim. The event feature an array of art from contemporary and modern, to classical, and other specialized art scenes that often command their own dedicated shows. Radiant presentations are brought to life by a variety of galleries molding the Los Angeles artistic sphere as a completely accessible space for expression. The tradition and prestige of LA Art Show are already fully consolidated in the city and its surroundings,, makes it one of the main American contemporary art fairs.

The LA Art Show embraces its role as the regions preeminent art fair and emerges as the annual civic celebration of the visual arts. The record breaking enthusiasm surrounding surpassed all expectations and encourages our team to deepen our roster of galleries and pursue new exciting art programming. As Los Angeles takes its place as a vanguard of the global art scene, our ability to adapt and evolve to meet the art market’s current trends is vital. The evolving role of the art fair as a fulcrum for art commerce, connecting galleries, artists, curators, and collectors.


Modern + Contemporary
The largest section of programming at the LA Art Show, Modern + Contemporary exhibits the vast spectrum of contemporary painting, illustration, sculpture and more from galleries in Los Angeles, the Pacific Rim, and countries all around the world.

Athier Mousawi – Athier Mousawi is a British Iraqi visual artist whose work over recent years has centered on forming a visual narrative between the two contradicting concepts. Cosmic Fluid I displays an assembly of sections that are being pulled apart and reassembled simultaneously. The piece represents a kind of kinetic movement, merging both geometric and fluid structures and forming a messy yet harmonious entity.

Peter Alexander – Peter Alexander, a member of the Light and Space artistic movement in southern California, is best known for his work with cast resin and polyurethane resin sculptures. With 3 Black Blue Bars, Peter explores issues of transparency, repetition and monochromatic color optics. From the viewers standpoint, the 3 slender bars also have the illusion of being out of focus against the stark white wall.

Ruth Weisberg – Ruth Weisberg’s dramatic, dreamlike lithographs and mixed media drawings and paintings resonate with a sense of the passage of time. Her distinctive strategies of using different medias add a tactility to each piece. As seen in Threshold, drawing remains the underpinning of her work, being used on an intimate and monumental scale.

Andrew Myers – Andrew Myers creates distinctively unique and realistic pieces with the use of thousands of screws. This series of portraits emphasize the interplay and contrast between light and shadow, creating a dynamic three-dimensional illusion. Each screw is manually placed (at varying lengths) and painted, thus treating each piece like a traditional sculpture.

The LA Art Show partnered with galleries and non-profits to feature bold new art performances and continued to expand out Littletopia and Street Art sections both at the fair and at off-site events to facilitate dealer and collector networking and create a sense of immediacy.

The LA Art Show is a manic maze of visual stimuli, scattered sections of international representation, and alluring distractions. It is sensory overload. At the heart of the LA Art Show is a core collective of contemporary galleries that form a community of lowbrow and pop surrealist art in a corner section known as, Littletopia. And at the heart of Littletopia is the Red Truck Gallery.

The show’s highlights include works by well-known artists like Baldessari, Ruscha and Picasso, but most of the work on display is by unknowns. With a focus on historic, modern and contemporary art, the show has almost no focus at all. LA Art Show is the most eclectic art fair, the most eclectic art fair in the world that establishes a high quality. This show is really about having a broad spectrum, it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.

Littletopia is a dialogue between tradition and contemporary expression as with the artists of Red Truck Gallery, Antena Estudio, and Fifty24MX. We see the corruption of popular icons as with the artists of Gauntlet Gallery and Thinkspace. The polished disorder of fine art as with the artists of Spoke Art, Hashimoto Contemporary, and Roq La Rue. Artists call out to us from the streets such as those of Ace Gallery and Artists Republic 4 Tomorrow. We see the absurdity of sweet and sour from artists such as those found at La Luz, Sloan Fine Art, and Corey Helford.

All these galleries at some point have or show all these varieties of artists. The concepts, techniques, messages, and styles within Littletopia are as diverse and ever changing as any other community within society. The very essence of lowbrow art is to dig even deeper below the underground in order to constantly recalibrate the social frequency from becoming static. It is this originality and diversity that brings the Littletopia community together.

Red Truck Gallery – One of the first objects that might have grabbed your attention at the Red Truck Gallery was the tentacle chandelier created by Philadelphia based artist/photographer, Adam Wallacavage. Adam trained himself in the art of traditional ornamental plastering but did not take a traditional route. The mesmeric creatures of the deep waters swam into his imagination and inspired him to create the octopus chandeliers that he has become so famous for. Adam’s porcelain creatures have illuminated the spaces of galleries around the world from San Paolo to New York and has graced the pages of magazines such as TIME.

Adam Wallacavage – Beyond this aquatic fixation you find another dark obsession-the occult. Against one wall is the artwork of Bryan Cunningham, inspired by Southern hoodoo practice. Anyone who has fixed a candle, made a honey jar, or carried a mojo bag would recognize the inspiration of Bryan’s paintings. Southern African American spirituality is an amalgamation of various African traditions-hoodoo being one of the commonly spiritual traditions still practiced throughout the United States. In Bryan’s work this Southern culture, unique to America, is depicted on the rustic and yet vibrant paintings that have semblance to the original artwork used on the bottles sold at hoodoo apothecaries.

Bryan Cunningham – Moving along the wall are the paintings of Evan B. Harris, who at times throughout the show worked on his art. Evan is a painter, furniture designer, and all-around craftsman. In a discussion he explained to me as he was antiquating one of his own paintings that after some time he pick up one of his older works and make alterations. For him, a piece of art is never finished, or rather, that it always has the potential to transform. As he moves on to new experiences he occasionally see something new in an older work and bring it forward in its own evolution.

Evan B. Harris – Beside Evan’s work was the photography of Ransom & Mitchell. A very dark cirque theme, the photography reminiscent of travelling circuses, sideshows, and vaudeville. Entertainment in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s was not polished or filtered. The use of human abnormalities, sometimes not actually abnormal but culturally different, was the horror before the silver screen haunted every small town and village. The darkness of fact is stranger than fiction is prevalent in the works of Ransom & Mitchell in their Rough and Ready Sideshow series.

New Eye-ACCD Projects – One of the great things that Littletopia offered the art community was the opportunity for recent Alumni from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena for the New Eye-ACCD Projects to showcase their work. The opportunity was not just to give a platform for the young artists to showcase their work, but for them to engage the public, to gain experience discussing their work, answer questions, and get comfortable seeing masses of people acknowledge or critique their work. But they were not just thrown to the wolves. They had their professor encouraging them and passing on his wisdom for engaging the waves of emotions and thoughts an artist experiences when confronted by…the audience.

Fifty24mx – This is a Mexico City based gallery featuring Ericailcane, Saner, Miss Van, Mariana Magdaleno, Victor Castillo, Carl Cashman, Yoh Nagao, Ciler, Fidia Falaschetti, and Meredith Dittmar. The LA Art Show brought in an international community and Littletopia as well provided a platform for international contemporary artists to represent their cultures. Fifty24MX promotes artists from various countries, but they primarily promote the contemporary artists of Mexico who are channeling the essence of Mexican tradition into a modern incarnation for a new generation.

Ciler – Ciler’s distortion of found images appears to be a mix of street art and Andy Warhol photo manipulations. They are corrupted, and yet attractive. The colors are bright, not dark, as if to evoke excitement in deterioration, not misery. There is a glamorous release of energy found in dissipation. Most of us can relate to this from our youth. How many of us indulged while our twenties dissolved around our depravity. There is something sexy in the experience of naivety, which is why the youth are targeted by corporate industries.

These sculptures were originally before the Copro Gallery, but since they drew such a consistently large crowd, wanting to take pictures, the pieces were moved just outside the Littletopia block to keep the center aisle from being congested. It comes as no surprise that the sculptures of the two most recognized artists of all time are so popular, with other artists and fans of their work. To this day, their work is still admired. Just think how good this look in your own art gallery or above your mantlepiece? Being able to view sculptures like this can make sure that their names continue to live on for years to come.

Spoke Art – This brother gallery to Hashimoto Contemporary featured the work of Casey Weldon, Caia Koopman, and a debut piece by rock poster god, Chuck Sperry, Maia. His psychedelic art nouveau posters have a unique quality of freezing the motion of his subjects in order to begin making your world spin. It reminds me of the spoon scene in The Matrix. It’s not the Chuck Sperry poster that is bending, it’s your mind that is bending.

Chuck Sperry – California native Caia Koopman has a signature painting style that embraces a West Coast street edge. Every Frankenstein needs his bride and the works of Caia show both a dark and streetwise side to the feminine mystique. Strongly inspired by California’s tattoo, surfing, and skateboarding subcultures her art paints a picture of our generation finding a still place in chaos. Future generations look back at our times and reference colorful works like Caia’s for understanding our contemporary urban spiritual consciousness.

Thinkspace – Thinkspace offered a special treat perfect for the recently released film Big Eyes by showcasing a Margaret Keane painting. David’s lowbrow assault on popular culture is both humorous and absurd. The infamous prima donna couple is warped into one juicy ego in the painting that portrays the recent controversial photo shoot of Kim posing nude. In another painting David interprets the fairly modern mythology of Alice in Wonderland, exposing the children’s story for all the corruption of innocence that is pregnant in its meaning. Alice in Wonderland is quite appropriate as in many of his paintings David illustrates an adventure into mayhem. The social apocalyptic commentary is abundant of celebrity icons, film references, drugs, and many other opiates for the masses.

Hashimoto Contemporary – Hashimoto Contemporary who showcased works by John Wentz, Jessica Hess, and Erik Jones. The John Wentz painting, Totem, is kind of hard to miss. Not only is it the largest painting on display, it is the darkest in color and seemingly in content. With her eyes closed, her mouth erased by the brownish red paint that is also smeared about her gentle form it appears the entire painting has been bruised. Yet at the edges is a pale color light, showing that this red is not the original state of the atmosphere but is subject to the condition of the woman.

Erik Jones – A new painting by Erik Jones was also showcased for the art show. In the painting an aura of geometrical broad strokes create a rushing movement around a screaming skull, as if the emotion of this lifeless skeleton issued from its jaw in vibrations invisible to the eye, only manifest by Erik’s brush. And like many of Erik’s paintings, the central subject, be it a woman or a skull, is unfinished as far as their body is concerned. The colored strokes almost serve as an ethereal body morphing in or out of the physical form. The realist depictions of human form obstructed by clashes of color is Erik’s portrayal of polarized identities-the balance, or better yet, the compromise of spirit and self, mind and body, form and imagination.

Copro Gallery – Copro brought us the Andy Warhol and Dali sculptures by Kazuhiro. They also showcased Chet Zar, Odd Nerdrum, Chris Mars, Tokyo Jesus, and Jim Mckenzie, all of whom, except Odd Nerdrum, feature pieces in Copro’s upcoming Conjoined V exhibition. Darkness is inherit in art. Take a closer look at the history of art movements and you find how the dark side prevailed in the twilight of transformation. It is during this period of transition that we fear the ‘monsters’ of change, but once we have become accustomed to change it is those very monsters that we redefine as the standard of beauty.

Copro Gallery displays the monsters in the grotesque renderings of artists such as Chet Zar and Tokyo Jesus, and yet, these pieces are well executed. They are fine art. They are not monsters for monsters sake. There is a philosophy behind each piece. There is intention that the artist invested into the work. We have to ask ourselves if the artist intended to shock us, or that the artist transformed their own darkness into a piece of art to reveal to us the alchemy of psychological emancipation through creative expression.

Sloan Fine Art – Owned and curated by Alix Sloan the gallery showcased the works of Jessicka Addams, Brad Woodfin, Elizabeth McGrath, Jonathan Viner, Eric Finzi, Susan Siegel, and Casey Weldon. Between former singer of Jack Off Jill and Scarling, Jessicka Addams, and the infamous Bloodbath McGrath, the façade of innocence hiding behind pastels, cute animals, and young girls is no more than pulling the sheep costume from off the wolf. Even Susan Siegel plays on the absurdity of appearances by painting the bourgeois class as pigs fitted in Victorian silks. Jessicka’s work it is not so much the revelation of illusion as it is the release of absolution.

Jessicka Addams – Sloan’s exhibit expanded outside the main perimeter of Littletopia to accommodate the sculptures/paintings of Mike Stilkey. Mike uses the spines of stacked books as his canvas in several works showcased at the art show. Not only was it creative in that one could dismantle the painting book by book, but also how he arranged the stack like a sculptor. I honestly can say that of sculpting with used books, Mike Stilkey is the master.

Antena Estudio – Antena Estudio, like Fifty24MX, works to represent the progressive works of contemporary Mexican artists with traditional art techniques and forms that distinguish the beauty of Mexican culture. The gallery featured very striking works by Gregorio Barrio who created a series of beaded skulls, supporting the gallery’s intention to present works encompassing traditional Huichol folk art and contemporary art. Another piece the gallery presented was “Cuernavaca,” by Andres Basurto.

Andres has a series of mosaic skull sculptures created from broken glass wine and beer bottles and resin putty. The relation of a beer or wine bottle being a container of an alcohol spirit is quite appropriate for his use for the glass as a container for the human spirit. And what we see is a delicate piece dependent upon the position of the sculpture that determine how the light was reflected from the skull. As our bodies are just as delicate, and just as dependent upon how we situate ourselves to determine how we reflect light, or caste a shadow.

Roq La Rue GallerY – Seattle based gallery Roq La Rue showcased the works of Travis Louie, Chris Berens, Peter Furguson, Chie Yoshi, Jeff Jacobson, Femke Hiemstra, and Sail. The paintings of Chris Berens have this effect of moving toward you, or is it perhaps a feeling of entering the painting? Even before grasping the multifarious subjects integrated into the work the concept is emotionally felt through the disarray of cloudy ether highlighted by spots of light. The murky atmosphere is a mystery unfolding.

La Luz de Jesus – Hollywood’s own La Luz de Jesus brought their famous hallway experience by showcasing the work of Charles Binger, Harold Fox, Scott Hove, Hudson Marquez, Annie Murphy-Robinson, and José Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros. Christine Wu, Shaun Berke, Dave Lebow, and Patrick V. McGrath Muñiz. Scott Hove cake archway was the icing on the Littletopia cake, which emphasized the congruent theme of the contrast of sweet and sour by incorporating windows of heaven and of hell in the archway.

After entering the official Littletopia cake gateway and looking to the right you would find another demonic Scott Hove creation at the front of La Luz’s booth-Ride the Demon Slayer. A fully functionally classic children’s mechanical animal joy ride, Ride the Demon Slayer is fully equipped with a spike saddle rendering it not so user friendly. And yet it’s shiny purple paint coat and gem studded coin box drew out nervous laughs from an audience getting comfortable with the dark playfulness of Scott Hove, realizing his work provoked contemplation of their own dark side as they realized.

Another noteworthy artist featured by La Luz was Damien Echols, who had two pieces displayed, Talisman of Success and Talisman of the Archangel Gabriel. Damien was sentenced to death in 1994 for the charge of a crime he did not commit and spent about eighteen years in prison. He tells his story in his memoir in the New York Times bestseller, Life After Death. What he tells in his artwork is another window into his soul. Such talismans are used in ritual for ceremonial magic. They are symbols infused with the power of intention invested by the creator, which tells me that despite hardships Damien Echols spent his time in prison developing a profound inner life and understanding of his will. The story is about a person wrongfully convicted and spending nearly eighteen years of their life in prison to develop spiritual wisdom and free themselves within their mind.

Ace Gallery – Around the corner from La Luz was a booth by Ace Gallery. This booth was one of three booths that Ace Gallery had at the LA Art Show, each varying in size. Their booth at Littletopia displayed works from The Date Farmers, which is a collaboration between Armando Lerma and Carlos Ramirez. Comparable to Red Truck Gallery’s depiction of American Southern culture, the Date Farmers show the rustic Mexican-American street culture of the Southwest. The American dream has been a different experience for many classes of American citizens and the Date Farmers project this reality by casting it over American memorabilia.

Gauntlet Gallery – By taking iconic figures from Frida Kahlo to Frankestein, Fab Ciraolo converts them into a modern punk version. However, one questions whether this is a commentary showing how the artists of previous generations are recycled through the decades, or perhaps it depicts how the artists of previous generations would mock what we’ve done to art and fashion. The artists revamped in Ciraolo’s work reflect the essence of glam. Glam is not pretty, it’s rebellion. Coloring inside the lines and interpreting another’s standards is fashionable, not glamorous. The true decadents throughout history set standards, they did not follow them. By using artists like Dali, Ciraolo unites contemporary references with historic decadents to redefine the era of decadence, it’s not black and white. It’s hues of colors that fade upon each other to highlight one another.

Artists Republic 4 Tomorrow – This Southern Californian gallery showcased Zio Ziegler, Dennis McNett, Casey O’Connell, Rich Jacobs, Super Future Kid and Trace Mendoza. The work of Zio Ziegler is chaos contained physically, order unraveled mentally. There is no beginning nor ending to his work. Zio works on both smaller canvases and larger urban exteriors. His paintings are neo-tribal expressionist works-tribal being the psyche or perhaps the spirit. We are all native to our own mind and Zio Ziegler’s works evoke that arcane spirit transient to our modern ephemera.

Corey Helford – This Santa Monica gallery showcasing Ciou, D*Face, Eine, Hikari Shimoda, Natalia Fabia, Hush, Nouar, Buff Monster, Soey Milk, and So Youn Lee. Sherri, director of the gallery, introduced to me to several gems including D*Face and Buff Monster. The art of Buff Monster is just what you would think it would be-cute little monsters. Do you see a sugar and spice theme in contemporary art? The 80s have long been over and the dark ghoulish fiends have been replaced by sugar coated monsters.

D*Face, a sort of neo-Lichtenstein, captures noiresque cult classic phantasmagorias through paintings and street art. Which brings up a point. Many galleries at the LA Art Show might not acknowledge or approve of the rising of street artists into fine art galleries-even though Andy Warhol and Basquiat are in museums. But the LA Art Show has in fact shown a shift in consciousness by bringing in more street artists, even outside the Littletopia utopia. Cities nationwide are now hiring graffiti and street artists to paint murals on buildings. That underground voice has surfaced, and Corey Helford is on the front lines of the art revolution delivering that message.

Works On Paper
Works on Paper is a dedicated exhibition space for showcasing photographs and other works not on traditional canvas.

Project Space
Hailing from around the world, the exhibitors in Project Space showcase a broad array of ideas and talents in the form of solo exhibitions, presented by participating galleries.

Special Exhibitions
Expanding beyond the confines of booth spaces, Featured Programming create immersive experiences to engage audiences through thought-provoking artworks, performances and other exhibitions offered by participating galleries, highlighting works that was talked about for years to come.

Tansaekhwa, Korea | Seung Won Suh
Tansaekhwa refers to a of Korean monochrome painting and is one of the most famous and important artistic movements hailing from twentieth-century Asia. Consisting of sixteen paintings, the LA Art Show’s special exhibit, “Tansaekhwa I” was the first overview of this important genre. Seung Won Suh’s Simultaneity features overlapping squares in airy pastel colors softly tumbling across a monochromatic canvas. The geometries seem to appear and disappear into the space, giving the piece a rhythmic quality.

Relax Mobile Anxiety | Pascual Sisto
Relax Mobile Anxiety features two video projections that face each other in a darkened room. A never-ending, tunnel-like flow of automobiles passes from one screen to the other, approaching in white and receding in red. These opposing, kaleidoscopic images create a suspended state for the viewer, neither coming nor going, in the space in between. The installation allows visitor to experience the tranquility that could occur with an automated driving experience.

The LA Art Show is strategically situated at the city’s dynamic epicenter, The LA Convention Center is Southern California’s most technologically advanced green venue, featuring soaring ceilings and ample space. With convenient access to world-renowned LA LIVE!, the Grammy Awards, The Grammy Museum, and an impressive entertainment complex that includes the Nokia Theatre, the Staples Center Arena, top restaurants, and The Ritz Carlton Hotel and Residences. Patrons of the arts gladly drive to Downtown L.A. for the best in Classical Music (Disney Hall), Theater (Mark Taper and Ahmanson), and Contemporary Art (MOCA, Art District).