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GALLERY

The vibe that binds the scene

An exhibition spotlights young artists sharing an intangible creative beat.

September 07, 2006|Alex Chun | Special to The Times

IT'S hard to put a moniker on the nascent Los Angeles art scene that is being fueled by an influx of young artists who show their works at galleries and warehouse parties alike. After all, there is no one term that can encompass contemporary lowbrow art, pop surrealism, graffiti-turned-studio artists and a wide array of other emerging artists, whether they're from the street or trained in schools.

So the folks at Thinkspace gallery in Silver Lake are simply calling it "The Movement." Rather than attempting to describe a style, Thinkspace co-owners Andrew Hosner, Shawn Hosner and Leonard Croskey say "The Movement" is really about an intangible vibe that is binding up-and-coming artists who are feeding the L.A. art scene's hunger for the next Mark Ryden or Camille Rose Garcia, who are among the best-known names in the current wave of lowbrow artists.

"It's like L.A.'s own in-town Burning Man," says Croskey, who also runs the monthly art rave Cannibal Flower. "It's pulling artistic people together to create this community with a little undertone of selling artwork."

On any given weekend, the works of "Movement" artists can be found in any of 50 or so Los Angeles-area galleries, including Gallery 1988, Copro/Nason Gallery, New Image Art Gallery, Gallery Nucleus, the Hive Gallery & Studios and Junc Gallery. And beginning Friday, Thinkspace will showcase more than 115 such artists in its latest "Picks of the Harvest" show, which includes the likes of dark surrealist Lori "Lola" Gil, underground graffiti artist Ekundayo, New York-based newcomer Stella Im Hultberg and pop-lowbrow artist Bwana Spoons.

The title "Picks of the Harvest" is an extension of Andrew Hosner's side gig, SourHarvest.com, a Web portal to the emerging L.A. art scene that he edits with Shawn, his wife.

Although Thinkspace opened 10 months ago, this is the gallery's third "Picks" show and by far its largest. Hosner, who is also curating the show, expects to hang 250 to 300 pieces, with works ranging from relative newcomers such as 23-year-old Josh Clay, who describes his work as "dark illustration with a pop surrealism twist to it," to veteran lowbrow painter Anthony Ausgang, whose work was featured in the Laguna Beach Art Museum's 1993 seminal exhibit "Kustom Kulture."

"Group shows like this are great in that we can get examples from more established artists who might not do a solo show with us, but who can still help us get the attention of the bigger collectors out there," Hosner says. "Those collectors might then get turned on to some of the up-and-comers, and at the same time, the established artists are kept in the limelight and exposed to the new breed of collectors, who are in their 20s and 30s."

Although established artists such as Ausgang bring credibility and deep-pocketed collectors to the gallery, the show's primary focus is on the young and the new. Many of the artists have yet to turn 30, but more than a few have managed to develop devout followings and wait lists for their originals.

A prime example is 24-year-old Audrey Kawasaki, who studied at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute and has been anointed the show's featured artist. A native of West Los Angeles who now lives in Silver Lake, Kawasaki will have two gallery walls devoted to her 4-foot-tall paintings, which she says were influenced by the works of Alphonse Mucha and Gustav Klimt.

"Audrey is a master of the allusive and alluring stare that goes hand in hand with her sexy girl imagery," Hosner says. "She's only been on the scene for a couple of years, but in that time her collector base and price point have soared."

Also rising through the ranks is Las Vegas-based Amy Sol, who's also 24 and recently had a solo show at Santa Monica's Copro/Nason Gallery. Like Kawasaki, Sol is also known for her images of enigmatic female figures rendered on wood, but in contrast to Kawasaki, tends to set her subjects in more mythical and fanciful settings.

"I'm half-Korean and a lot of my friends are of mixed heritage, so I try to capture ethnicity that can't be defined," says Sol, who took some drawing and painting classes in college but is primarily self-taught.

"I'm also heavily influenced by the video game and anime age, old Disney movies and children's illustrated books," she says, "so storytelling is a big part of my work."

*

`Picks of the Harvest: Batch Three'

Where: Thinkspace, 4210 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A.

When: Opening reception: 7 to 11 p.m. Friday. Regular hours: 1 to 6 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Special hours: 1 to 10 p.m. Sept. 15, noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 16 and 17

Ends: Oct. 8

Info: (323) 913-3375, www.thinkspacegallery.com

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