Audrey Kawasaki’s characteristic female subjects exude a dreamy idealized beauty balanced by the intensity of their powerfully fixed gazes. Kawasaki’s latest body of work is inspired by traditional headpieces and jewelry from various cultures, including the Akha tribe, Yemen, Armenia, Kenya, Russia, China and Mongolia. With meticulously detailed work, Kawasaki emphasizes a play between texture, pattern and decorative motifs to create a balance between notions of individual beauty and cultural pride. The intricate renderings of coins, flowers, and beads coupled with the dignified expression of each woman emphasizes their refined grace. Tied together by ornamentation as a form of cultural identity, Kawasaki embraces the uniqueness of how women have historically used such adornment to represent feminine empowerment, both individually and collectively. Audrey Kawasaki began her artistic career in her native Los Angeles, after attending Pratt Institute in NY.
Johnny ‘KMNDZ’ Rodriguez continues his iconic imagery of paintings filled with intricate birds freed from their cages that interact with animated, biomorphic robots. Finding inspiration from memories and experiences, Rodriguez captures the delicate balance between nature and machine. This harmony between two opposing forces reflects our daily struggle to balance responsibilities with freedom in order to find happiness. ‘KMNDZ’ is more than a moniker alluding to the ‘undo’ option on a MAC, but a reminder that we can rectify the past by focusing on the future.
JP Neang’s tightly rendered compositions from her Chibi and Kazahana series exude a delicate floating movement with vibrant touches of color against monochromatic graphite. Greatly influenced by the Japanese philosophy of Ma (間), roughly translated as "gap, space, or pause," Chibi illustrates balance of spaces that makes us take notice of the pauses where vibrations of life are always present. Counterbalancing Chibi’s emphasis on emptiness,
Kazahana, meaning “wind-flower”, represents snow traveling from a remote location to fill a sunny sky, like petals. Romantic and whimsical in nature, Neang focuses on the different relationships love has influenced in our present world.
Jean-Pierre Arboleda’s life-long passion for animals and nature grew to encompass topics that concerned issues of evolutionary change, environmental toxicity, and conflict. The very humanoid qualities Jean Pierre gives to his animals invites the viewer to be drawn into their soul. The feeling of peacefulness, beauty, struggle, and spirituality coincide to encompass a world where creatures emerge as fellow stewards of the earth. His paintings provoke thought and compassion for our counterparts and encourage us to empathize with their reality as humanity's impact grows ever larger in their world. Arboleda was born in Ecuador and moved as a young adult to New York City, earning a BFA in illustration at the School of Visual Arts and his Master’s degree in fine art at the New York Academy.
Melany Meza-Dierks questions perceptions of space and landscape with figuration emerging through geometric portals. Thematically tied with notions of balance, and duality, these works are portals that reflect subjects of mutation, and ideas of evolution as a result of personal technology’s constantly expanding influence. Through intensely saturated tones, cropping of figurative forms and a blend of geometric patterning alongside nature, Dierks has embraced all the codes of realism and narrative while at the same time, allowing fantasy to permeate the paintings in a way that questions our perceived notions of reality. Melany Meza-Dierks was born in Caracas, Venezuela. In 2004, she moved to Los Angeles and studied at Otis College of Art and Design, where she received both her Bachelors (2007) and Masters of Fine Arts (2016).