In ‘Antisocial Network’, Los Angeles based painter Alex Gross, examines how the very nature of modern devices designed to bring us closer together, have ironically become a catalyst for disconnection, seclusion, and alienation. In his first exhibition in Los Angeles in over a decade, Gross’ new collection features oil paintings, drawings, and mixed media cabinet card paintings that revolve around the nature of identity and relationships in the context of modern technology, branding, and social norms.
Known primarily as a surrealist, Gross leans more towards realism in ‘Antisocial Network’. About half of the paintings now on display at Corey Helford Gallery depict his subjects immersed in the haze of an electronic device. The other half follows the theme that although the figures aren’t specifically engaged with a smartphone or similar accoutrement, they still sport that all too familiar detached and disconnected stare.
All the paintings are rich with vivid color and immediately recognizable imagery and upon first glance appear bright and lighthearted. The artist’s ironic sense of humor plays heavily on the theme, forcing the viewer to confront his own obsession with the world of technology.
Conversely, Gross’ latest series of cabinet cards, a standard of his collection, convey his usual playful take on current pop culture. Originally a form of commercial photography, Gross collects vintage portraits from the late 19th and early 20th century and redresses them to portray the subject in a contemporary light. Comic book characters, movie/television protagonists, or rock icons such as Daredevil, The Joker and Harley Quinn, and Kiss make an appearance alongside the likes of Luke Skywalker, Django, and The Night King.
New Zealand artist Meredith Marsone’s first US solo exhibition, ‘Arbitrary Dreams’ opened on February 25th at Corey Helford Gallery (Gallery 3). In direct contrast to Alex Gross’ ‘Antisocial Network’ where disconnection was the primary subject matter, Marsone uncovers a universal connection between human beings.
Marsone, a contemporary oil painter from New Zealand, employs a delicate color palette to create an ethereal sense of vulnerability. Luxurious layers of impasto part like thick, brocade curtains to reveal realistic figures in moments of quiet sensuality. Marsone’s paintings feel intimate and distant at the same time. Her subjects’ casual, relaxed postures are familiar yet the dreamlike ambience suggests something larger is happening just out of sight. The intuitive combination of abstract, heavily textured paint strokes coupled with tender yet powerful expressions allows the viewer to feel as if they’ve stumbled upon an otherwise secret moment. It is this sense of voyeurism that encourages a personal connection with the work.