September 25 – October 30, 2021
COREY HELFORD GALLERY
571 S. Anderson St. Los Angeles, CA 90033
Open: Tuesday-Saturday, 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Visiting Hours: Thursday-Saturday, 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
On Saturday, September 25th, downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery will proudly unveil a new solo show from figurative painter Adrian Cox, entitled Dream Country, in Gallery 2.
The studio practice for the Los Angeles-based artist and compelling storyteller involves crafting an intricate and epic mythology with his paintings, in which he explores themes of otherness and monstrosity. In creating his work, he draws inspiration from art history, science fiction, mythic archetypes, and his own experience of growing up in a closeted queer family. Cox says, “I make my paintings with a painstaking attention to craft, and the color in these is incredibly intense in person. This is largely because I create the color in my works by painting thin layers of transparent paint on top of each other, so the end effect gives the color a beautiful depth and richness. Ultimately, I’m mixing classical painting techniques with contemporary color sensibilities and materials.”
Dream Country marks Cox’s third solo show in Los Angeles; CHG also hosted his first solo, Terra Incognita, in February 2018 and second solo, Into the Spirit Garden, in March 2020. Into the Spirit Garden garnered the attention of internationally acclaimed rock band TOOL, who used Cox’s piece “The Birth of Spirit Gardener” from the show for a limited-edition concert poster, plus a cover feature from LA Weekly (3/18/20) to preview the show.
The newest issue of Beautiful Bizarre Magazine (issue #33 – June 2021) features an in-depth interview with Cox, to preview his upcoming Dream Country show at CHG. Writer Luke Barrett shares, “While the characters might appear non-human, Adrian’s works are allegorical and there is nothing more quintessentially human than the messages which Adrian expresses through his work. So much of what Adrian is saying is about love and tolerance for others, especially those who might appear different, and reminding us that we are all part of nature, no-one is apart from nature, and ergo no-one should ever be labelled unnatural and marginalised for being true to self.”
Regarding Dream Country, Cox shares, “My paintings chronicle the lives of the Border Creatures, a group of hybrid beings that live in the verdant wilderness of the Borderlands. This personal mythology draws on a myriad of references and blends elements of art history, science fiction, mythic archetypes, and my own experience of growing up in a closeted queer family. These works challenge how we define the Monstrous and the Other, and propose a reconsideration of the categories of the natural and the transgressive. These overarching themes are grounded in the lives of my recurring characters and play out in the actions of those that wander the Borderlands.
The Border Creatures exist in symbiotic harmony with the natural world, but are antagonized by the Specters, spirits of pure energy that casually burn the landscape that they walk upon. When these spirits first appeared, the destruction that they brought to the ecosystem of the Borderlands drove the creatures into hiding. The Border Creatures eventually triumphed when Healer, the leader of the creatures, transformed many of the Specters into rainbow-hued Spectral Witnesses. These witnesses now wander the Borderlands, seeking a path to redemption.
Defeated but not broken, the remaining Specters united to form the Spectral Brotherhood. Together, they created a mantle of power, a hollow body built from their half-remembered existence as humans. The Specter that they chose to wear this body became a champion, a figurehead that could lead the Brotherhood in its violent rituals.
In Dream Country, these rituals come to a head, and the Brotherhood crowns their champion as king. By ceremonially scarring the trunks of trees, the Specters use the forests of the Borderlands to create an archive of apocalyptic prophecies and angry rantings. They transform the landscape into a reflection of their collective will, heedless of any harm done in the process. Under their new king’s direction, these desecrated forests are harvested and burned in a climactic ritual intended to reshape reality. However, the Spectral Brotherhood is met with resistance, and the Border Creatures use their own rituals to cultivate and heal the Borderlands.
In this exhibition, I depict ritual and myth as the means by which reality is created. Through codified ceremonies, the characters in my work externalize their internal world views and transform the Borderlands in the process. The resulting narrative is one that recognizes the double-edged nature of myth and examines the role of ritual in shaping a shared understanding of the world.”
Dream Country opens Saturday, September 25th in Gallery 2, alongside a solo show from Mayuka Yamamoto, entitled Monochrome, Apples and Animals, in the Main Gallery.
The gallery’s visiting hours are Thursday-Saturday from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm. As coronavirus cases continuing to rise, CHG will be requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of entry into the gallery, plus guest temperatures will be checked and masks will be required.
About Adrian Cox:
Adrian Cox (born 1988) is a painter living and working in Los Angeles, California. Cox’s studio practice involves crafting an intricate and epic mythology with his paintings, in which he explores themes of otherness and monstrosity. In creating his work, he draws inspiration from art history, science fiction, mythic archetypes, and his own experience of growing up in a closeted queer family. Cox attended the University of Georgia for his undergraduate studies and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors in 2010. He obtained his Master of Fine Arts degree from Washington University in Saint Louis in 2012. Cox has exhibited his work nationally and abroad, plus his paintings have been featured by VICE, Juxtapoz, Beautiful Bizarre Magazine, Hi-Fructose, Heavy Metal Magazine, PROHBTD, and in the book Anatomy Rocks: Flesh and Bones in Contemporary Art.
Dream Country marks Cox’s third solo show in Los Angeles ─ CHG also hosted his first solo, Terra Incognita, in February 2018 and second solo, Into the Spirit Garden, in March 2020. Into the Spirit Garden garnered the attention of internationally acclaimed rock band TOOL, who used Cox’s piece “The Birth of Spirit Gardener” from the show for a limited-edition concert poster. Plus, LA Weekly profiled the artist with a cover feature (3/18/20) to preview the show at CHG, sharing: “…the incredible collection of Cox’s new work [Into the Spirit Garden] vibrates around a mythical journey his characters take through power, redemption and, finally, community…Setting up a world with infinite ways to explore humans and their relationships to themselves and society, Cox paints stunning scenes in oil of glowing beings that lack genuine dimensionality as they plot against ethereal creatures, and ultimately themselves…Intriguing and subversive, the narrative peaks with the ascent of the spirit gardener, a dazzling pink and yellow human figure formed of crystals, flowers and a rainbow glow. This is who we all are — seen as consciously, fully realized in Cox’s art…this exhibit sparks conversation, humor and introspection.”
About Corey Helford Gallery:
Established in 2006 by Jan Corey Helford and her husband, television producer/creator Bruce Helford (The Conners, Anger Management, The Drew Carey Show, and George Lopez), Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) has since evolved into one of the premier galleries of New Contemporary art. Its goal as an institution is supporting the growth of artists, from the young and emerging, to the well-known and internationally established. CHG represents a diverse collection of international artists, primarily influenced by today’s pop culture and collectively encompassing style genres such as New Figurative Art, Pop Surrealism, Neo Pop, Graffiti, and Street Art. Located in downtown Los Angeles at 571 S. Anderson St. Los Angeles, CA 90033, in a robust 12,000 square foot building, CHG presents new exhibitions approximately every six weeks. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, with visiting hours being Thursday through Saturday from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm. For more info and an upcoming exhibition schedule, visit CoreyHelfordGallery.com and follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. For available prints from CHG, visit CHGPrints.com.