Three Fine Solo Shows at Gabba Gallery
By Genie Davis
Closing last weekend, Gabba Gallery gave us another of its signature groupings of strong solo shows..
Essi Zimm’s Happenstance tells stories. Inspired by mythology and a childhood spent in a book store, Zimm creates a dynamic and richly colored world featuring lions, unicorns, a peacock, pink bunnies. Using mixed media of oil and collage, Zimm’s bold and bright color palette combined with her textured patterns and layers lead viewers into a fairy-tale land. Her “King Star” is a roaring patchwork of a lion, Leo, killed by Hercules in battle and placed in the sky by Zeus according to Greek mythology. A cornered great beast, a king crowned by his mane, this is art that leaps off the wall with a roar. Comparatively peaceful, her “Bai Hu” the white tiger is curled up like a kitten ready to nap. Placed against a vivid striped and patterned background, this too is a mythological creature, a constellation, a proud but peaceful being. Her “Hare or There” offers whimsical pink bunnies, “Du.Nu.Nu” gorgeous curved Pisces fish.
While very different artistically, the work of Seattle-based artist Ten Hundred, Variegated Visions, makes a terrific pairing with Zimm. His work, too, uses eye popping color and fresh textural style in takes on comic book, anime and pop surreal imagery. “Lavender and Lime,” acrylic and aerosol on panel, gives viewers a delicious looking purple skinned girl and green skinned boy standing in front of a deep turquoise moon. His “Hidden Power” is a hoodie and headphone-wearing female with a shaft of yellow light emanating from behind closed eyes. “Submarine” gives viewers a look at whimsical creatures manning a mechanical submarine; a blue cat keeps watch above sea level. The rainbow colors Ten Hundred employs are dream-like and trippy; with his art, viewers are entering a world that is rich with upside-down colors and lush pop sensibility.
The third artist at Gabba is the San Diego-based Konecki. Unlike Zimm and Ten Hundred, Konecki is not working in vibrant hues. His painting and sculpture shapes images designed to explore social apathy in our current political environment, the colors are appropriately less vibrant. Wickedly irreverent, his perfectly crafted miniature scenes are as wonderfully detailed and they are infused with a kind of sadness. His mixed media wall sculpture “Pretty Much” is a billboard proclaiming “We’re All Fucked!” His “The Thing About Walls Is…” features a ladder leaning against and rising over a quite questionably sturdy wall. “Temporarily Closed” gives us a forlorn theater marquee for the ‘American Dream’ whose billboard lettering raggedly reads ‘Clo ed.’ Less overtly political, “Something About Perspective” gives us a perfectly wrought corner store, signs in its windows for EBT and Cold Beer. The weedy cement on which it stands is a pretty powerful invocation of the sad state of American consumerism.
So what do all three solo artists share other than the gallery “stage” at Gabba? Each has created their own worlds, whether it is Zimm’s world of vibrant mythology and astrology; Konecki’s intensely detailed miniatures exploring the ruins of American culture; or Ten Hundred’s anime and alien life forms. Each of these world’s is one that is well worth exploring, created by artists who are important visual voices.
Gabba Gallery is located at 3126 Beverly Blvd.