Canned Heat

Exhibition: July 5 – 28th, 2019
Reception: Fri. July 5, 8-11 PM

La Luz De Jesus Gallery is pleased to present Canned Heat, a group exhibition irrationally named after Sloppy Henry’s 1920s song, “Canned Heat Blues”, which slurs the consequences of drinking canned heat (also known as sterno fuel) during the age of Prohibition. The exhibition features work by Roger Betka, Emily Casares, Chris Donnelly, Tasha Kusama, Maya Peterpaul, Jay Torres, Andrea Shear, and Brian Williams.

Canned heat whiskey’ll make you sleep all in your clothes, lay down in your clothes, hear, baby, I said//Canned heat whiskey make you sleep all in your clothes//When you wake up next morning feel like you stayed outdoors//

-Sloppy Henry, “Canned Heat Blues”

Roger Betka lives and works in Los Angeles, California as a storyboard artist and freelance illustrator for Toyota, Nissan, Ebay, Chevy, Harris Publications, and Time Warner Cable. His love for comic book art, mid-century illustration, and Sci-Fi, and anything coming from a weird, surreal physical or mental space inspire his compositions.

Emily Casares is a contemporary painter and ceramic artist living in Orange County, California. Nature, spirituality, and the human figure are often at the center her work. Casares is usually unintentionally but repeatedly driven by her own self-reflection– it draws on the parallels of the wild and chaotic elements of nature and the zaniness of the human mind.

Chris Donnelly was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. Fascinated by their shapes, colors, and mechanical design, Donnelly was driven to collect antique wooden fishing lures. By the early 90s, he was inspired to make them himself. Looking for a way to express further emotion and character, he ultimately ventured into carving wooden people. Using only basic carving tools such as gouges, files, and knives, he sculpted from his unadulterated imagination and has since been producing his iconic wooden subculture.

Tasha Kusama lives and works in Los Angeles, California where she explores the concept of women ‘on the verge’ through the female form and atmospheric skyscapes. She believes true human nature is beyond the physical, and men and women should remember to look at one another and acknowledge that we are a collective of spiritual beings not fully represented by the physical world.

Maya Peterpaul lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Her ink drawings are influenced by her background in printmaking and feature stills from a subconscious world of extraterrestrial visitors, vegetable spirits, epic heroes, and mystical creatures. In 2007 she received her B.A. in Art Education, with a focus on intaglio printmaking, from the University of New Mexico. In 2018 she received her M.L.I.S. from San Jose State University. She has exhibited in galleries in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and in Los Angeles, California.

Andrea Shear lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Working mostly in ink, watercolor and oil paint Shear creates cryptic imagery conveying a sense of longing and sentimentality that represent parts of a larger narrative. As a mother of two, she is especially interested in exploring themes surrounding the wonder of nature and childhood emotion and experience. Shear studied at Oxford Brookes University in England and at the New York School of Visual Arts. Upon returning to Los Angeles, Andrea worked in the visual effects industry and eventually returned to design drawing and painting.

Brian Williams Lives and works in Columbus, Ohio. He is interested in surrealistic juxtapositions of animals in a man-made environment – sometimes posing as a person or replacing man-made technology in order to illustrate the ways people and animals are similar but also to create unusual, humorous or vaguely unsettling images. Williams draws inspiration from nature, history, animals, ghost stories, folklore, and old-fashioned photography. Williams graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design in 2003, where he studied Illustration, Fine Art and Art History, and where he now teaches.

Jay Torres There’s a distinctly dark tone that is consistent throughout the illustrations and paintings of Altadena-based illustrator Jay Torres. The common themes of brightly colored figures in barren landscapes, nightmarish portraits, and Catholic iconographies all combine quiet and aloof dreaminess with political and literary discourse. There are certainly lurid themes at play in most of Jay’s work but never polemical. The abject here shapes a uniquely hypnagogic and surreal aesthetic that is more welcoming than it is confrontational.

Jay Torres was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and later in his teen years moved to Southern California where he began to distill his love of image making. Although mostly self-taught for most of his life, Jay earned his BFA in illustration from ArtCenter College of Design in 2018

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