Pixie dust, a penguin in vintage shoes, colorful toy guns available for 10 cents—you’ll find all that and more at Corey Helford Gallery’s latest exhibition, a five-artist sampler show held in Gallery 2 alongside group show The Fourth Wall in the Main Gallery. Featuring new work from mixed-media artist Annie Montgomerie, illustrator Bob Dob, toymaker Sean O’Meallie, and Japanese painters aica and Tada Koiichiro, the five-artist exhibition runs through August 19, 2023, at Corey Helford Gallery in downtown Los Angeles.
Blending fantasy, nostalgia, and whimsy, NYC painter aica debuts Our Fairies of the Scents, a new series that uncovers the “invisible magic of scent.” She is known for creating surreal, imaginative figure works that stand in stark contrast to the fast-paced streets of Manhattan. “Scent stirs my imagination more than any other sense; it flutters around us like fairies sharing their pixie dust,” says aica. “In this show, you will see some of the scents that inspire my paintings. The gentle scent of flowers comforted me when I was sad. The smell of my cats’ tummies filled me with nostalgia and peace. The fragrance of cherry blossoms reminded me of my first love.”
Using upcycled vintage treasures—antique buttons, scraps of velvet, satin bows—mixed-media artist Annie Montgomerie creates bespoke costumes for her storybook character soft sculptures. Deceptively cute at first glance, Annie’s animal sculptures exist halfway between Frankenstein and Peter Rabbit. “I like to skirt around the outside of dark with a hint of sorrow or regret that goes with the passing of time,” she says of the work in this show.
Inspired by the surf, skate, and punk cultures of Hermosa Beach, L.A. illustrator Bob Dob creates playful, character-driven works tinged with trauma and pain. “Life isn’t always good times,” he says. “While in our youth, we experience many things we would rather forget, but this is what defines us. That’s why my characters have an adolescent quality to them.” His latest series, Complementary Colored, portrays members of the “Mouseketeer Army” after a brutal riot: Mickey’s got a black eye, Donald’s smoking a cigar, and Minnie’s spending the night behind bars.
Inspired by his career as a toy inventor in the international marketplace, Sean O’Meallie creates fanciful wood sculptures that carry meaning beyond fun and play. His latest work, Jar of Candy Poppers, is deceptively colorful and alluring: “These are 25 unique handmade wood gun sculptures, each with a spring-loaded bullet, and all crammed in a cookie jar with a ten-cent price sticker,” he says. “The bullet can be pushed back into the gun, but it pops back out. The bullet never leaves the gun. It’s non-lethal gunplay at a very attractive price. I wanted to comment on gun mania in the USA.”
Working with a monochrome palette, Japanese oil painter Tada Koiichiro creates close-up portraits that guide viewers through the abyss of human existence. His new series, Phantom Message, revolves around the ghost-like presence of a girl the artist calls “Kimi,” an image that arose little by little while layering the oil paint. “You're one person but you’re not alone,” says Tada on Phantom Message. “There’s an infinite number of expressions you can show. You exist not only in me but in the minds of many people.”
The five-artist exhibition runs through August 19, 2023, at Corey Helford Gallery in downtown Los Angeles. For more information, please visit the gallery website here.
All photos published with permission of the artist(s).
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