Poignant and Surreal: Eric Joyner and Lori Nelson at Corey Helford Gallery

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One of the most engaging aspects of the current exhibitions at Corey Helford Gallery is that they are both visually entertaining and metaphorically deep. These are the figures of a childhood that never was, stories that could yet be. Steeped in magical realism, artists Eric Joyner and Lori Nelson each offer a strangely satisfying assessment of technology, childhood, fairy tales, and childish things roaming about in the world.

San Francisco-based artist Eric Joyner’s “Tarsus Bondon Dot” is an exhibition of large scale images that often feature brightly colored robots and large-scale donuts. The realistic style of Joyner’s landscapes belies their whimsical surrealism.

helford ice cream The oil on panel “Special Delivery” features a robot driving an ice cream truck into an abyss; “All Systems Go” sends a not-too-happy cat into space; while in “Escape Velocity,” an X-12 tears through the clouds while giant donuts rise like a monolith in the background. “Rockin’ at Sharkeys” depicts a big robot crowd watching a robot match-up in a boxing ring. 

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Absurd though these images may be, they ably depict aspects of real life in juxtapositions that make viewers smile. Working in a vibrant palette that full utilizes the texture and depth of oil, Joyner manages to fuse the amusing, the touching, the strange, and the mysterious in his Transformers-like fairy tale world.


In Gallery 2, Lori Nelson’s bewitchingly lovely  “Cryptotweens: Find My Friends” pairs well with Joyner. Both artists work in oil and use fanciful figures and sharp wit; both have an underpinning of wistfulness, even sadness.  Nelson’s fairy tale scenes are darker than Joyner’s, illustrating with delicate precision a parallel world in which creatures both human and not traverse a territory that is frozen between childhood and adulthood. Personal growth aside, these inhabitants have bigger things on their mind – avoiding or girding themselves to co-exist with a technology that is threatening to overtake them.

Nelson’s dark blue palette creates a nighttime world in which her characters roam, hide, and search. The exhibition’s title piece, the diptych “Find My Friends” reveals two almost-tweens using hand-held computers as if they were flashlights, creating beams of light to undertake a search in a dark forest. A raccoon, an owl, a bunny, and a squirrel accompany them, with glowing red eyes. The squirrel holds a satellite dish, while behind them, other satellite dishes float on a river.

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“Opt Out IV” has a cryptotween curled up seeking safety and escape below ground. Cozily snuggled with bunnies beneath the roots of a tree, above ground satellite dishes and scanners ominously proliferate.

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And in gallery three, lush paintings by Iva Troj & Sergio Lopez create classical images in a rich dreamscape.

Running through June 3rd, these shows serve as both fascinating art and highly entertaining pop culture – with a little shiver of recognition thrown in. 

Corey Helford is located at 571 S. Anderson Street in DTLA.

  • Genie Davis; photos Genie Davis and courtesy of Corey Helford Gallery

Corey Helford Gallery – Hardly Archaic


Closing Oct. 29th is another strong and thoroughly unique show at the Corey Helford Gallery, featuring three artists who present their own riveting views of the natural world both outside and within us.


New York-based artist Martin Wittfooth’s The Archaic Revival occupies the main gallery. These stunningly detailed oil paintings display a beautiful and varied use of brush treatments and palette knife to create images that evoke the past while contemplating the future. Also on hand are bronze sculptures, a new medium for Wittfooth.


“The title of the show is borrowed from Terrence McKenna,” Wittfooth says, “it refers to our subjective culture. We have stepped far away from the connection to nature. We have created technological and industrial barriers between us and nature.”

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Calling his works here a “visual homage” to McKenna, he views his paintings as a “first step” toward creating balance. The late philospher McKenna explored the idea that Western culture and society has become sick, and needs a healing process which can only be achieved by a reversion to archaic, or old-fashioned values. Wittfooth believes that only through a return to the past can man see himself as he truly is, a part of nature. That return is the subject of his work here. His lush color palette features complimentary colors as an approach to subjects he has explored over time, the artist notes.


His sculptures, however, represent a new approach for the artist. “This is my first foray into bronze,” he relates. “The group at MetalPhysic Sculpture Studio in Tucson did a great job of translating my two dimensional works into three dimensions. It’s interesting to me to explore that relationship.” Wittfooth plans a continuation of this collaborative sculpture. “I have several of the guys from the foundry here tonight, looking at blueprints I’ve created for future work,” he told us at the show’s opening.

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With paintings that are imbued with a golden light and a seemingly timeless synchronisity of color, and sculptures that have a monumental feel, this is an important show by an artist intent on relaying a timely message, connecting viewers to the natural world using techniques that compliment rather than deter from the subject. This is an elegy, a tribute, and a wake-up call, begging viewers to return, as he has through his artworks, to the ideals of nature and its healing process.

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Also on hand at Helford is Korin Faught’s Lost Days.  


“This show is basically about my time in bed, the time I’ve lost,” Faught says. “Every show I like to take my work to a slightly different concept, one that goes beyond a single piece. You really need to see the entire series at once, and I encourage people to see them in person.”


Although her work is markedly different that Wittfooth’s, she shares with him a traditional and highly detailed painterly style, and a sense of the elegaic. Faught describes her work as influenced by turn-of-the-century painters such as John Singer Sargent.


“The show is essentially five years of work postponed because of the timing of the birth of my first child,” she notes.


Using multiple poses from the same model, Faught describes her intention as both “self and omni referential.” Her figures, wrapped in sheets, resting and restless in bed, depict both transcendent and dream-like states and as she describes it, “a body in torment…an escape into the mind set ajar.”


Completing this significant show are the works of Hannah Yata in “Dancing in Delirium.”



The other-worldly, vivid, sci-fi like images offer an entirely different take on the state of the mind and the natural world.  The artist views her paintings as their own kind of dance, using the female figure combined with animal parts to create hybrid creatures that are inspired by religion, literature, psychology, and her experiences as a woman.


The Corey Helford Gallery is located at 571 S Anderson St. in DTLA.

  • Genie Davis; photos: Genie Davis and courtesy of Corey Helford Gallery.





Corey Helford Gallery: Spectacular Anniversary Show Closes this Saturday



Crashing into the art scene ten years ago, Corey Helford Gallery has always served up fascinating shows.


There is pretty much only one way to describe the 10th Anniversary Gala Group Exhibition now at Corey Helford Gallery in DTLA – and that’s spectacular. So don’t miss the chance to turn out for this feast of an exhibition, closing this week.


Featuring the work of a wide variety of artists exhibited at Corey Helford over the years, “Ten Years of Amazing Artists:  Corey Helford Gallery and Friends Celebrate!” is a terrific retrospective, a kaleidoscopic survey created by curated by Jan Corey Helford & Caro of the diverse artists shown here.


Making great use of the gallery’s grand 12,000-square-feet of space, artists showing include Chris Anthony, Caia Koopman, Carlos Ramos, Gary Baseman, Camille Rose Garcia , Ron English, Shag (Josh Agle), Andrew Brandou, Korin Faught, Natalia Fabia, Kinsey , Lola , Simone Legno (Tokidoki) ,Kukula (Nataly Abramovitch) , Luke Chueh, Buff Monster, Van Arno, Sarah Folkman, Sylvia Ji, Brandi Milne, Joey Remmers, David Stoupakis, Annie Owens, Jason Shawn Alexander, Henry Lewis, Eric Joyner, D* Face, Chloe Early, Greg Gossel, Colin Christian, Nouar ,Michael Mararian, Ray Caesar, Sas Christian, Mike Stilkey, Adam Wallacavage, Michael Page, Eine , Billy Norrby, Tom Bagshaw, Shawn Barber, Risk , Kazuki Takamatsu, Erik Mark Sandberg, Victor Castillo, Beau Stanton, Richard J Oliver, Ben Frost, Soey Milk, Hikari Shimoda, Jennybird Alcantara , PETER GRONQUIST , Nicomi Nix Turner , HUEMAN , Redd Walitzki , Yosuke Ueno , Herakut , Naoto Hattori , Lu Cong , R. Leveille ,Hannah Yata , Lori Nelson , Joanne Nam , Travis Lampe , Brian Donnelly , Hirabayashi Takahiro , Kisung Koh , Mary Jane Ansell , Kelsey Beckett , Logan Hicks , Sarah Dolby , Carlo Cane , Joe Hengst , Okuda , Nathan James , Mikael Takacs , Mandy Cao , Miho Hirano , Adrian Cox , Lauren Marx , Yasuyo Fujibe , Stephanie Inagaki , Amandine Urruty , Stickymonger , Sarah Emerson , Riikka Hyvönen , Pip & Pop , Nicole Gordon , Meredith Marsone , Mara Light , Lauren YS , Kris Lewis , Lala Abaddon , Kristen Liu-Wong , Keun Young Park , Joey Bates , Jean-Paul Mallozzi , Haroshi , Heidi Taillefer , Ewa Pronczuk-Kuziak , Alessia Iannetti , Scott Musgrove , Amy Fry , Scott Hove , Olivia De Berardinis , Ian Francis , Glazed Paradise , Jonathan Viner , Marion Peck , Nigel Cox , Handiedan , Glazed Paradise (Mark Jenkins & Sandra Fernandez).


Culling from the gallery’s catalog of artists, the show highlights an emphasis on the cutting edge, the surreal, the subversive, and the simply beautiful.


The gallery grew from a personal collection of Jan Corey Helford, who founded the gallery with husband Bruce. Previously housed in Culver City, the larger space has led to richer shows, with space not merely filled but with art work but space used to create an immersive experience of pop surrealism, street art, and all works contemporary.


So sit back and enjoy a look at some of the stellar pieces that represent the gallery’s exhibitions over the years, then head downtown for the closing this weekend.

The beautiful photos here are all from the camera of Jack Burke.

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Corey Helford Gallery is located at 571 Anderson Street in DTLA.

  • Genie Davis; photos: Jack Burke

Corey Helford Gallery: Phantasmacabre with Allusions and Allegories



Running through August 20th, two powerful female artists take center stage at the Corey Helford Gallery. Camille Rose Garcia offers two separate exhibitions: Phantasmacabre and the illustrations of Snow White, while Jasmine Becket-Griffith presents Allusions and Allegories.


Both are the stuff of fairy tales and dreams, the mystical and the enchanted.


Los Angeles artist Garcia is a pop art surrealist, and in Phantasmacabre, in CHG’s main gallery, she spins gothic art that practically glows with color, art that sparkles with a kind of witchcraft. The paintings are huge, as is a humor-rich sculpture of the big bad wolf.


Not only large in scope but in intent, they’re crammed with Jungian references and influenced by the surrealist films of Alejandro Jodowsky.


Above, Garcia, looking as if she just stepped out from one of her canvasses.


Born of dreams, fragments of fairy tales, feminine symbols, the tangle of a forest, and the interwoven textures of childhood and myth-making archetypes, the fully formed result in a vibrant series of canvases that create a landscape of wonder. Beauty, fear, the nightmare and the promise: this is the language of Phantasmacabre.


“I was inspired by the idea of symbolic language, language as symbols for personal life. I made a deck of cards to create a series of associations, of personal symbols for my life and my personal message,” Garcia explains. “My paintings use that.”

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In Gallery 3, Garcia’s Snow White illustrations create a new and surreal spin on the classic fairy tale. “I always try to find other dimensions of color and emotion,” Garcia relates.

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Heading into Gallery Two, a whole new world emerges.


Above, Becket-Griffith and a wonderful work that morphs traditional and classic art with fanciful anime.


Becket-Griffith’s works in Gallery 2 have an equally female, mythic cast. Allusions and Allegories represents involved fantasy and fairy tales that offer a riff on anime as well as  classic art.


The Florida-based artist paints in a traditional style utilizing acrylics to capture a mix of the gothic and lyrical natural settings. She has her own licensing line with Disney, and exhibits at Pop Gallery Orlando at Downtown Disney in the Walt Disney World Resort. You can’t get more fairy tale than that. Like Garcia, she uses symbols and stories to create allegories, in this case, between art master works and magical imagined worlds.


“There’s a story behind each one of my paintings. I have created cartoons of myself and my sisters, I did anime work, and then I tried to make what I create more realistic and stylized, with references to art history and such artists as Klimt, Bosch, and Van Ellenberg,” she says.

Many of her paintings have antique replica frames uniquely created in resin, while others were carefully curated and purchased. “My husband ran a frame store before I met him,” she says.

She says of her work that “I’m trying to bring a bit of mystery into a mundane world with each piece.”


Mystery and magic: feminine epic adventures born of night flowers, strange symbols, and provocatively sensual color.

Find all of this in the works of Garcia and Becket-Griffith at Corey Helford. The gallery’s well curated walls are located at 571 S Anderson St. in DTLA.

  • Genie Davis; all photos: Jack Burke