March 12 - April 2, 2016
Gabba Gallery proudly presents Layers, four simultaneous solo exhibitions featuring artists Essi Zimm, Tōshee, Nicholas Bonamy, and Joey Feldman. The four distinct shows, curated by Jason Ostro, will be on view from March 12 to April 2.
Essi Zimm’s artwork delves into fairy tales and indigenous legends with mixed-media layers of paper, pencil, ink, paint and more. The characters and meanings of these colorful stories are evoked through guttural marks as the viewer explores Zimm’s visual translations.
Influenced by his graphic design background, Tōshee employs bold, vibrant elements to arrest the viewer’s gaze. His technique incorporates both additive and subtractive processes with paint, pencil, ink, epoxy, and stencils that come together to produce images reminiscent of Eastern art.
The work of Nicholas Bonamy reflects the many layers of contemporary life happening all at once. Actions, thoughts, and dreams are revealed differently from every distance as the viewer’s focus drifts from one perspective to another in an experience akin to daydreaming while driving.
Fun is what you feel when viewing the characters exposed in the exuberant artworks of Joey Feldman. His colorful use of mixed media and gestural marks, lines, and layers ultimately add up to an energetic portrait of the eccentricities revealed in a character.
"These artists are masters of their craft whose minds, bodies, and spirits are deeply engaged in the making of their work. The Gabba Gallery is the perfect multi-exhibition showcase to share these four tremendous talents with the world."
- Jason Ostro, Curator
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
“Pay heed to the tales of old wives. It may well be that they alone keep in memory what it was once needful for the wise to know.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
My biological father, a religious fanatic, claimed to know the truth. A woman’s value could be precisely calculated according to metrics of surface: dress, speech, piety, observance. My mother, a free spirited German, claimed her own truth. Beyond surface, there were things that dictated an individual’s fate: signs, symbols, curses, miracles. Being raised in a bookstore, I was imbued with many truths from the local UFO hunters, the psychics, the paranoid philosophers, the zealots, the hippies, all fervently declaring the objective truth to be found in their recommended codexes. These books were the saving graces of my childhood. With no other children around, I befriended the books and they became a catalyst to how I related to everything and everyone. They became my myriad of axioms.
Folklore is the human attempt to pass on these truths. Henry Glassie said it best, “it stresses the interdependence of the personal, the social; the aesthetic, the ethical, the cosmological; the beautiful, the good, the true. Practically, folklore is the study of human creativity in its own context” My art can be summed up as confessions of paper, a way to visually communicate truths, accessing the space occupied by folklore. Paper conceals and communicates meaning, and can be destroyed and overlaid in various modes. I begin a piece by abstractly representing an image in paint, which I then cover with paper: scraps found, created from pulp, or hand illustrated. I then peel away the paper, leaving a construction bearing a nonlinear but viscerally personal connection to its origin. The accumulated papers mimic the debris that sticks to memories; it mirrors waking life’s uncanny transfiguration in our dreams. Where realism trusts only what can be tested and seen, folklore presents a world vibrating with meaning, a morally charged and heavily fated universe that rejects logic in favor of the non-linear.
Tōshee’s mixed media work features carving and layering techniques inspired by traditional Japanese woodblock printing, sumi-e, cel animation and the constantly evolving art of the North American streetscape.
A native of New York City and first generation American born to Latin American parents, Tōshee studied design at Harvard under the late, great Toshihiro Katayama, internationally acclaimed graphic designer, sculptor and painter. His artist name is in fact an homage to his teacher, who passed away in January 2013.
In his life outside of art, Tōshee has worked as a university teaching fellow, video game producer, multimedia consultant, primetime network sitcom writer and Internet music company manager.
Tōshee has been active in the Los Angeles and Miami contemporary art world since 2013. His work has recently shown in group exhibitions at The Gabba Gallery, Stone Malone Gallery, Prohibition Gallery, The Hive and with long-standing LA pop-up show Cannibal Flower. He has two solo shows scheduled for 2016: in March at The Gabba Gallery and in September at Roam Gallery in Topanga.
Nicholas was born and raised in Los Angeles and knew early on that he wanted to pursue a career in art. He graduated from Art Center College of Design in 2003 with a BFA in Illustration. After graduating, he began a career in freelance illustration and graphic design. In 2006 Nicholas’s focus switched to production design, where he participated in several independent projects for film and internet release, and added set design, scenic painting, carpentry, and set and prop fabrication to his growing list of skills. In 2012 Nicholas took a break from the movie business to focus on his roots in painting. Since then, Nicholas has been committed to producing large and small scale mixed media works inspired by Los Angeles and the people and places he grew up with. His work reflects a layered approach that seeks to show the textures of life, living and working in Los Angeles.
Mixed-media artist Joey Feldman works in Los Angeles, California. Feldman’s works are figurative with a frenetic, cartoonish style at their core. With line art applied to its fullest extent, Feldman’s initial, fast-sketched lines play a role in the final piece. Then, with paint and ink splatters, Feldman finishes each with a visceral urgency that captivates upon first glance. An only child who kept mostly to himself, Feldman first fell in love with art and illustrations through comic books and with Marvel pages he first taught himself to draw by tracing panels. Known for his constant sketching in grade school, Feldman would receive a special award at his grade school graduation entitled “Classroom Cartoonist,” which was created specifically to commend his budding talents as an artist.
Feldman’s first professional assignment came in 1994 when commissioned to draw a portrait of O.J. Simpson upon the verdict of O.J.’s infamous trial. Since then Feldman has provided artwork for advertising agencies, design firms, motion pictures, beverage companies, record labels and magazines. Including a not so flattering illustration of noted rapper Eminem for XXL Magazine which sparked the biggest feud in XXL history. The illustration itself earned a shout out from the artist himself on the Marshall Mathers LP.
Private collectors such as Josh Brolin (No Country For Old Men), Jere Burns (Justified, Bates Motel), Kaley Cuoco (Big Bang Theory), Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), Joe Manganiello (Magic Mike, True Blood), among many others, feature Feldman’s singular work in their collections.