Downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery is proud to announce their next major solo show from Canadian artist and illustrator (Mean Girls Club and Frog Wife) Ryan Heshka, entitled FREEKS, opening Saturday, August 10th in Gallery 2.
Celebrating weirdos, misfits, oddballs, and nonconformists everywhere, of every size and category, inside and out, the opening of FREEKS will not only feature new oil paintings and works of gouache on paper from Heshka but a wide range of work from his unexpected alternate universe.
Much of the wall space at CHG will be dedicated to the complete artwork from Heshka’s Mean Girls Club: Pink Dawn graphic novel, marking the first time the artist has made his original comic book artwork available for purchase. The FREEKS show at CHG will be the only chance for fans to see the complete story art all in one location.
In addition, opening night of FREEKS will be the official release event of Heshka’s long-awaited Frog Wife comic book, with a limited number being made available to purchase at the gallery, along with a new Frog Wife silkscreen print and Frog Wife oil portrait, for the first time. The exhibition will also host the complete original comic book art from the Frog Wife comic, as well as a number of other new paintings especially executed for FREEKS. Frog Wife (printed by Colour Code Printing) is a three-color risograph 16-page comic, signed and a numbered edition of 375. Plus, a limited number of the artist’s first monograph, Heshka's 2017 Fatales: The Art of Ryan Heshka (published by Cernunnos), will also be available to purchase on opening night.
Heshka’s artistic production is undeniably influenced by the stylistic expression of the pulp magazines and B movies that have always fascinated him. He shares, “I have been drawing since I was a kid, and many of the themes have remained constant – giant animals and insects, superheroes, epic battles, monsters. I also watch loads of movies, so I subconsciously think cinematically sometimes while painting and creating. I sort of drift off and begin to imagine images as scenes in a lost film.”
Regarding his upcoming show FREEKS, Heshka shares: "The overall theme that weaves all the work together is the celebration of individuality, and celebrating our individual weirdness, quirks, the things that make us who we are. The political climate, the actual climate, and questions about privacy and reality have been heavy on my mind this year. I didn’t necessarily want to do a show that literally explored these themes, but rather have these themes drive my exploration of individual freedom and the evolution and shift of our relationships with each other as we continue to race forward. The show itself is split three ways: a) the original art from Mean Girls Club: Pink Dawn, b) the debut of my new comic book, Frog Wife (with a new print and a large oil painting and art from the comic book), and c) a series of new paintings. The narratives in all these works varies, but there is a thread of rebellion, of flipped or evolved stereotypes, and turning figures inside out to reveal an inner self. The show started as an excuse to exhibit my comic book art, but soon took on a life of its own."
He adds, "The show is heavy on the comic book art (close to 60 spreads, or 120 pages), which I have never shown before. There are also two large oil paintings, one of the Mean Girls Club, and one of Frog Wife. Large format oils are relatively new to me and have not been widely seen or available. Other paintings play with the format of tattoo flash (multiple icons or figures on a page), or focus more on figures rather than scenes, which featured more prominently in old works. The work still maintains that antiquated, distant, almost foreign look I am known for, but I feel it is more refined and yet at the same time more raw than older works."
FREEKS opens Saturday, August 10th from 7pm-11pm in Gallery 2, alongside a solo show with Jana Brike, entitled Soulsearching, in Gallery 3. CHG will also be hosting a solo show with HERAKUT, entitled Of Worriers and Warriors, which opens Saturday, August 17th in the Main Gallery. Vanessa Burgundy will DJ the first opening (8/10) and Marko DeSantis will handle the soundtrack for the second opening (8/17). The gallery’s August line-up is an outstanding combination of artists, each completely and radically different from the others but all aggressively current and emotional, which is the strength of the New Contemporary art scene.