Good things come in threes: Charlie’s Angels; Hermione, Harry, and Ron; the Sanderson sisters. While it’s hard to top these notorious threesomes, Taiwanese artist Chen-Dao Lee, Spanish illustrator Jesús Aguado, and contemporary faux naïf artist Sun-Mi (aka Pamplemouze) come pretty close.
Showing together in The Power of Three at Corey Helford Gallery, the trio introduces new work from their respective series: Retro Romance from Chen-Dao Lee; Too Many Muses from Jesús Aguado; and Good Mourning from Sun-Mi. Each artist works in a distinct style that reinforces the show’s eclectic aesthetic and pop-surrealist undertones. Incorporating aliens, cartoon characters, storybook illustrations, and elements of Western pop-culture, the three artists weave an unlikely narrative about visual expression in the 21st century.
Contributing work from his Retro Romance series, Taiwanese artist Chen-Dao creates provocative work inspired by his country’s unique blend of Eastern and Western influences. Painted in saturated colors and elaborately framed, Retro Romance combines elements of Hollywood film, Japanese porn, and Western art into a familiar, if unsettling brew. The series stems in part from Chen-Dao’s childhood preoccupations: cartoons, comics, and doodling in his sketchbook during math class. “I try to celebrate what these characters mean to everybody and create new meaning, which is romantic to me,” he says of Retro Romance.
In stark contrast, Jesús Aguado's work is muted, cryptic, and eerie. His haunting figures all possess one conspicuous feature—their large alien eyes. “The series consists of eight female figures wrapped in universes and peculiar stories,” Jesús says of Too Many Muses. “I would love to have a single muse and repeat it countless times…but I can not. My curse is creative drama, it's what I'm passionate about. When something is comfortable for me, I get bored.” Joining parallel and surreal universes, Jesús presents a world of unwritten rules and unexpected characters where his imagination can run wild.
Sun-Mi’s work is also full of surprising twists. In her recent series Good Mourning, the Paraguayan artist explores the weight of her emotions after the death of a loved one. “I not only lost someone, but a part of myself,” she says. “I neglected my sadness and now these feelings are coming in waves and I’m drowning. My mind is frozen and my heart is broken. I just don’t know who I am.” With clenched fists and sneering faces, the naive girls in Sun-Mi’s work represent the artist’s ongoing struggle to express her emotions.
The Power of Three runs March 11 through April 15 at Corey Helford Gallery in downtown Los Angeles alongside Secret Longings in the main gallery. Scroll through to see a selection of images from The Power of Three.
Each artist works in a distinct style that reinforces the show’s eclectic aesthetic and pop-surrealist undertones.
All photos published with permission of the artist(s). Featured photo by Sun-Mi.
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