Downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery is proud to announce a solo show from Parisian turned Cardiffian painter Bruno Pontiroli, entitled A Rebrousse-Poil and a solo show from Australian pop surrealist Marie Larkin, entitled Birds of Paradise set to premiere on Saturday August 22nd in Gallery 2.
From his dreamlike visions, Bruno Pontiroli conjures up surreal and fantastic universes. His terrifically twisted oil paintings offer mind-bending explorations of the relationship between humans and animals, painting limber cows doing impressive handstands or an over-eager man embracing a large walrus, much to its chagrin. Pontiroli shares “My aim is to turn the narrow vision that we have of the world upside down and disturb our imagination while shaking an accepted reality with images that are as incomprehensible as they are familiar. Distorting a symbol or mixing opposing universes allows me to question the identity of things so that I can reinvent them in a world with no logic. Everything is possible.”
Regarding Pontiroli’s newest body of work entitled A Rebrousse-Poil (English: Against the Grain), he shares “I tend to represent iconic animals that are easily and quickly identifiable in my work. I focused in on the main subject, the animal, and then I tried to simplify my universe by not representing all the other characters or creatures that my paintings are usually surrounded with which allowed me to give more importance to my subject.
The way I work is like the way a child plays with modelling clay or a building set for instance. In this series, I played with shapes again. I tried different combinations, twists and deformed them until they found a different nature. Something that I believed to be interesting. I paid attention to the physical characteristics of the animal I chose to represent whether it be its fur, scales, or colors, and I tried my best to render the natural beauty of each animal. Through this new series of paintings, I would like to make people laugh and to arouse a kind of curiosity, a feeling of beauty, complexity, and madness. I want to give the audience the desire to be interested in our universe and to relish in the positive despite all the negativity.”
Australian pop surrealist, Marie Larkin’s art embodies an undeniably feminine oeuvre, meticulous execution, and attention to detail. Her richly colored, painted and drawn alternate worlds, are inhabited by her signature women who imbue the works with narrative and emotional content. Women of strength and character, whose undeniable feminine force, have become the artist’s trademark.
Her intensely colored and detailed body of work continues with Birds of Paradise, the next entry in the narrative Quest series. The newest works follow along from the previous suite The Journey, in which the women begin their Quest, journeying through the burning Badlands to seek out a better place of natural abundance, beauty and safety. In Birds of Paradise, they find it in a rainforest like setting. Here they are safe, inhabiting the trees and waterways. In the steamy heat, they have discarded their armor, stripping down to their filmy underthings, having given themselves over to sensuality and a playful attitude. They have become exotic ‘birds of paradise’ themselves by taking on the colors, markings and feathers of birds, or the lush greenery and flowers of the tropics. They have new companions in the animal world and live in harmony.
Regarding Larkin’s newest series entry entitled Birds of Paradise, she shares “The women in my paintings are as always, a metaphor. In these eight new paintings they symbolize the idea that ‘we are water’ and water is life. Their colorful markings incorporate water droplets, and bubbles float from them. They live in the trees high above the waterways and play and bathe in them. The air is clean, clear, and blue. Leaves and flowers as hair or nests made from lush foliage and flowers were a joy for me to paint. One girl carries her Wabi-Kusa style lush garden with her. I made this series during Australia’s worst drought and resulting bushfires and my studio looks out upon a large expanse of landscape that turned to dust and smoke over much of the time I created these works. They were at once an escape for me from the harsh reality outside my window, and a reminder to all of us of the importance of preserving our water tables and waterways.
My bodies of work often follow a pendulum swing, a yin and yang. In the last series of work, the women were all ‘business’ facing hardship and toil. Their garments, expressions and attitude reflected their determined quest to journey away from strife and devastation. This body of work has been a return to a happy place of creation for me with strong, sensual, vibrant women and colors. For me, art is an escape from the everyday world and over the last ten years I have continued to paint alternate worlds inhabited by my signature women. In this series of work, I wanted to explore a lush and exotic aesthetic and a more sensual and playful attitude to these female characters that came with their journey’s end in an idyllic setting. While the women are certainly relaxed and laid back, they still regard the viewer directly and with great confidence, deliberately engaging their audience with an open gaze. Do they invite you into their world or warn you away from it? I hope as always there is a range of expression in the women from haughtiness to playful innocence and that when the audience regards them, they see something behind their eyes that comes from the authentic persona that underlies each one.”