Forced Maturity-Sean Powell

Exhibition: October 7 – October 29, 2023.

Opening Reception:  Saturday, October 7, 2023 from 4pm-9pm, featuring DJ set by John Dwyer of Osees⁠

La Luz de Jesus Gallery is pleased to present Forced Maturity, a solo exhibition by Sean Powell.


Sean Powell, 52, lives and paints in Los Angeles. Forced Maturity is his first solo show. It consists of 13 new works, painted and assembled by Powell in Los Angeles within the last year. In the works comprising Forced Maturity Powell deploys many techniques of image-production – stencils, collaging, stamps, free-painting – all scattered in vividly colored dream-like configurations, addressing themes of anxiety, sex, death and consumerism. Powell’s elastic symbolic vocabulary mixes freely childlike simplicity with totemic adult cultural references, offering subterranean pathways through the discordancy that ultimately yield only to the observer any interpretation.

Given his sophistication of technique and easy command of color, it’s surprising that Powell only began painting in his mid-40s, having never attended art school or had any formal art training. He sold his first painting the day after he abruptly began painting in the summer of 2015. Since then he has made over 100 paintings and prints which he has sold primarily through the internet and word-of-mouth.

Aside from painting, Powell is a punk musician and now plays in Surfbort, also based in Los Angeles. He is known throughout the tattooing community and elsewhere for the originality and profligacy of the images that cover nearly the entirety of his skin. Between these nodes of engagement Powell was recruited as an aesthetic consultant for the film Sound of Metal, designing the Riz Ahmed character’s tattoos and style.

Powell has previously exhibited in group shows Fake Art for Posers (2016, Ashawagh Hall), Locals Mostly (2018, Volcom Garden) This Time It’s For Keeps (2016, Leona Gallery) and in a benefit for the Silverlake Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles (2015).