SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2017 5 - 8 PM
SEPTEMBER 9 - OCTOBER 28, 2017
2525 MICHIGAN AVENUE, B-5A
SANTA MONICA, CA 90404
Richard Heller Gallery is pleased to announce, Unearthed Entities, a complex, multi-layered presentation of new and recent paintings by emerging New York-based artist KAJAHL. This is KAJAHL’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles.
Working in the traditional medium of oil on canvas, Unearthed Entities explores the history and taxonomy of portraiture. KAJAHL constructs humanoid figures that traverse different cultures and points in human history with elegance. Without a need for chronological consistency or narrative support, KAJAHL carefully pieces together hybrid entities that take on allusions to classical painting, but become disruptive through their divergent multi-faceted origins. Much like Mary Shelley's Victor Frankenstein, who gave life to a humanoid from non-living matter, KAJAHL seamlessly sews parts together from the fringe of art history into new transformative identities.
KAJAHL’s process entails sifting through history, both amassing and archiving imagery ranging from ancient art, vintage ethnography, historical portraiture and landscape, to strange alternative histories, pseudoscience, and the absurd. In Unearthed Entities, KAJAHL depicts a range of figures such as an alchemist, astronomer, cryptid-like amphibian, high-ranking dignitaries, and a navigational explorer. In this sense, a playful dissonance is achieved in what we would normally presume to be a tradition that depicts heroic leaders from a bygone era.
KAJAHL will be in attendance at the opening reception on September 9th.
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND IMAGES CLICK HERE
SATURDAY, APRIL 22, 2017 4 - 7 PM
APRIL 22 - JUNE 18, 2017
TILLOU FINE ART will present Obscure Origins, the first comprehensive solo presentation in New York City of paintings and studies by Brooklyn-based artist KAJAHL. This exhibition presents a focused survey of KAJAHL’s portraits, which combine iconography from African, Asian, European, and Pre-Columbian traditions. The fusion of these symbols results in the creation of enigmatic artworks that foreground the forgotten past and reanimate minor artifacts of history into transformative assemblages.
KAJAHL draws inspiration for his paintings from visiting historic sites, mining archives, books, museums and the internet, and then uses these resources to create new iconographic mythologies and narratives. This results in the manifestation of hybridized entities that he produces and transforms into grandiose figures. Obscure Origins spotlights this diverse cast of characters ranging from majestic deities, royal leaders, scientists, cryptid like amphibians to seafaring explorers. KAJAHL places these subjects in various habitats tightly occupied inside their own unique universe that radiate a mesmerizing and tantalizing effect.
He adroitly melds materials and objects in his paintings, blending together disparate elements to create a new fiction as the figures he depicts defy and obscure classification. For example, in Aquatic Submerged III, he paints an oxidized iron torso that seamlessly fuses into a jadeite greenstone bust. In Scientific Method I, we see a figure seated in front of what appears to be altered hieroglyphs, meddling with strange cadavers and undefined creatures. Here, KAJAHL incorporates still life and portraiture to explore the outer limits of appropriation and identity.
Alongside these paintings, a series of small studies will also be included in the exhibition. Amulets, funerary effigies and fragmentary busts are rendered with a striking use of expressive brushwork, reflecting both his command of the medium and versatile ability to construct alternate realities through a variety of painting techniques.