James Jean REBUS

James Jean’s second solo exhibition, “Rebus” opened March 12 at the Martha Otero Gallery in Los Angeles. “Rebus” featured a distinctive direction and mind-blowing collection of large scaled works created at James’ home studio, garage and private warehouse shared with David Choe. (Recumbent 40" x 60").

It’s hard to believe that James Jean just recently completed his second art collection—installed floor to ceiling with hand painted wallpaper. A nice touch, adding significant depth of scale for his apocalyptic compilation. At first glance, peering through a thick crowd of fanfare, I felt that James had continued his unique form of abstract expressionism.
(above : gallery installation detail, Sprinkler detail).

James constructed a dense array of visual symbols comprised of brightly piled pigments and purposeful brush strokes. He thoughtfully reveals the right amount of information needed to peek your curiosity. James invites you to take a step back, realign to the center of the frame and choose a focal point for a second look. This is a much needed step to absorb the illusion of abstraction. “Rebus” offers the opportunity to read between the lines and discover typographic elements dancing amongst the decay of fallen subjects. (above : hounds 72" x 150").

James describes in Martha Otero’s press release, “The solidity of the paint belies the illusory nature of the narrative: these excavations into the subconscious are fraught with misfires, inconsistencies and contradictions of a dream.” (Cherubs 96" x 120")

Originally from Taiwan, James studied at the School of Visual Arts in NY and later stumbled upon my Comic Con booth in San Diego with his sketchbooks. Kevin Christy and I were blown away. Not just sketchbooks, fluid line that captured minute detail and the essence of daily life intermingled with fantastical worlds—organic deities, figurative mingling with nature, micro detailed writings with microscopic pen and pencil wisps. (L/sketch from Baby Tattooville 2006, R/Sketch featured in “Rebus”)

James Jean has exhibited at The Japanese National Museum in Los Angeles, The Museum of Modern Art in New York and his work is featured in the permanent collection of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. James was featured in “Survey Select” in San Diego. A few of the paintings featured in “Rebus” were filmed last year for the forthcoming art documentary film by Mark Murphy currently in production.

James Jean has entered a new level of painting consciousness, forging new ground into a nebulous world comprised of lyrical gesture, colorful abstraction and controlled experimentation with his brush.
“Rebus” is not to be missed and can be viewed at the Martha Otero Gallery through April 30. (Tiger detail)

PS—“Rebus” is a form of word puzzle that uses pictures to represent words or parts of words. Latin for “things.” (Braid and Lotus War featured above).

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