Oli Epp: New Paintings & Skye Volmar: I See How You Look at Me

2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404
Nov 20, 3 PM - 6 PM — ends Dec 18, 2021
Richard Heller Gallery is pleased to present: Oli Epp - New Paintings. This is Epp's second solo exhibition with the gallery.

About the Exhibition:

Oli Epp’s paintings circulate a number of themes to do with the tragicomic element of living in the 21st century society, dealing with the complexity of identity and anxieties living in the digital age; consumerism and consumption which leads to control and addiction, anxiety and conflict. The paintings work in an endlessly cyclical way of Epp ironically questioning idealisms and our pursuit of perfection and the conflict that arises as a result.
The work is centred around the body and its relationship with the world and others, its shape accentuated; large heads, exaggerated limbs, flattened, almost cartoon-like. But don’t be mistaken, what Epp does with these avatar-esque almost naïve, narcissistic and sometimes sexualised figures in his paintings is convey an externalisation of internal conflicts or states. Underneath the bright pop aesthetic often lies a darker more sobering narrative.

The overall aesthetic of Epp’s paintings conveys the digital world; mimicking the screen, toying with the physicality of surface. The flatness and luminosity of his work reflects our complex relationship with technology; how we use it as extensions of oneself or as a pretence of one’s personality, as a façade.

Richard Heller Gallery is pleased to present: Skye Volmar - I See How You Look at Me. This is Volmar’s first exhibition with the gallery.

About the Exhibition:

A nude female figure rests in the top half of a horizontal composition. She looks at us from the comfort of her bed, a nest of silky sheets not unlike a stage. Sheets become curtains, which, along with her gaze, pour over the edge of the frame. She is looking down on us, from atop a tall waterfall, boldly reclining. The figure makes herself familiar. She wills to mind images of female nudes from before her time — Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres’ Grande Odalisque, Manet’s Olympia, Gauguin’s Spirit of the Dead Watching — and more intimately: Carrie Mae Weems’ Portrait of a Woman Who Has Fallen From Grace, Deana Lawson’s Otisha, and Mickalene Thomas’ portrait of her mother, Madame Mama Bush (in Black and White). Her posture indicates that this is her domain, but she strains a smile, forcing her face to fold. She wishes to implicate the viewer, to catch them in the act of looking. Our gaze glides over stretches of skin and slides around the surface. We struggle to hold this image, it slips from our grip. Only she is rooted in this space. This is the fragile balance of seer and seen in Skye Volmar’s work. The figure, a vague self-portrait for which the show is named, confronts us, “I see how you look at me.” Written by Mary Kuan with the aid and friendship of the artist.