On Saturday night, Alhambra's Gallery Nucleus celebrated the opening of three new shows, "Stasis" by Cam De Leon, "Larvae" by Jeremy Enecio and the group effort, "Hollow Thoughts: A Skull Show." Together, the shows mixed fantasy, introspection and metaphors for a diverse display.
Cam De Leon, "Stasis"
If you're a fan of the band Tool, then you are probably readily familiar with Cam De Leon's work. His work has appeared on the band's albums, like Ænima, and T-shirts as well as in videos. "Stasis" is his first solo show of original work at Gallery Nucleus.
De Leon spent a year and a half working nights on the paintings featured in "Stasis." There's no theme, "just escapism," he says.
"It was a project to see if I could get a bunch of pieces together in what for me is a short amount of time," says De Leon. "To have an overarching concept was a luxury I couldn't afford."
De Leon does his drawings digitally. With those, he creates "a catalog of imagery" that provide the basis for his paintings. One of the most spectacular pieces in the show is called Day, a painting of a woman as a flower that is a tribute to his wife's garden.
"When I got the house -- I hadn't met her yet -- it was all dirt and weeds," says De Leon of his yard. Now, there's a garden filled with birds and bees. "At the end of the day, when the sun is coming straight across, it hits some of those flowers and they illuminate."
Jeremy Enecio, "Larvae"
Jeremy Enecio is a New York-based up-and-comer whose work has appeared in magazines like Out and Playboy. "Larvae" is his second solo show at Gallery Nucleus.
For Enecio, the most difficult part of putting together a solo show was finding a theme to tie together the pieces. He took inspiration from a recent, life-changing moment. Just a few months ago, Enecio told his parents and friends that he's gay. He describes the experience as a "bookmark" of his life. "It changes the directions you go in," he says.
"Larvae" is a show based on "Rites of Passage," taking pivotal moments in Enecio's life and presenting them in paintings that layer oil over acrylic.
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"Hollow Thoughts: A Skull Show"
In "Hollow Thoughts," 12 artists took on the challenge of reimagining the skull. The show featured three of Joshua Harker's Crania Anatomica Filigre sculptures, the basis for his landmark Kickstarter campaign that raised a whopping $77,271, when the goal was only $500.
Also featured in the show is Patrick Awa, an L.A.-based character designer who recently worked on Tron: Uprising and Legend of the Guardians. Awa took the skull in a metaphorical direction with his piece Hansel + Gretel. His painting depicts the young children from the famed fairy tale looking for a way out of the woods and walking into a skull-shaped glow of light. You could read this painting a few different ways. Maybe it's foreshadowing the doom that's ahead for the children. Maybe not. "I don't want to necessarily make it too negative or dark," says Awa. "I think that there are multiple metaphors in that story."