MANO A MANO PACIFIC STANDARD TIME: LA / LA PARTICIPATING GALLERY PROGRAM SOLO EXHIBITION (MAIN GALLERY & PROJECT ROOM) OPENING RECEPTION: SEP 23, 2017 // 6PM - 10PM
EXHIBITION DATES: SEP 23 - OCT 28, 2017
GALLERY HOURS: TUES - SAT / 12PM - 6PM NEW IMAGE ART, 7920 SANTA MONICA BLVD LOS ANGELES CA 90046
New Image Art is pleased to announce in conjunction with the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA / LA, an exhibition of new works by RETNA titled Mano A Mano. Presenting an exciting new body of work that includes a vibrant series of figurative paintings, in-gallery mural application, and a special installation featuring the public unveiling of a large-scale bronze sculpture in RETNA’s iconic calligraphic style. Pacific Standard Time: LA / LA is a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. Led by the Getty, Pacific Standard Time: LA / LA is the latest collaborative effort from arts institutions across Southern California.
In Mano A Mano, RETNA’s figurative paintings reinterpret the Spanish art that came to the Americas via colonization in the 1500-1800s and offer a nod to his earlier work embellishing urban bus stop advertisements. Spanish colonial artworks adhered stylistically to work from Spain but developed original features in different regions such as Peru and Mexico. This transformation carries over into RETNA’s work, as the artist injects his own intimate experiences relating to relationships, success, inner demons, and other Los Angeles realities into these compositions, creating contemporary images rooted in history. By mythologizing his own experiences and combining them with references from the past, the work presents a larger context for understanding the historical importance and cultural mix in the Americas. Much like RETNA’s life, this new body of work internalizes the multi-cultural variation that binds people together and makes Los Angeles one of the great global melting pots. This exhibition salutes the influences that come together in art, people and places throughout history, with RETNA offering a deep bow to his heritage and the city of Los Angeles.
RETNA (Marquis Duriel Lewis) grew up in Mid-City, Los Angeles. Marquis is of a multicultural background,African American and Central American decent and is fluent in Spanish. As an active participant within the neighborhood graffiti / urban street culture, RETNA was inspired by the color and danger he saw around him and channeled it into his own artistic pursuits. He rigorously practiced and mastered local graffiti script, which eventually became his own form of calligraphy, mixing local elements with components from Gothic script, Arabic and Hebrew calligraphy, and Native American typographies. RETNA explains, “I want my text to feel universal. I want people from different cultures to all find some similarity in it—whether they can read it or not.”
RETNA is known internationally for his public and privately commissioned mural projects. He has been widely acclaimed for the iconic paintings that have appeared on the Bowery / Houston Wall in New York City, Wynwood Walls in Miami and the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Grand Avenue location in Los Angeles. RETNA has created exclusive collaborations with brands such as VistaJet, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel. RETNA currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
His works have been exhibited internationally including in Los Angeles, France, Italy, Mexico, Dubai, London, and Hong Kong. A large-scale installation of his work was featured at the San Francisco Legion of Honor’s 2016 exhibition The Future of the Past: Mummies and Medicine. RETNA was the artistic designer for the visual re-imagining of the San Francisco Opera’s production of AIDA in 2016. His work is currently on display in the Hall of Nations as part of a six week exhibition at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC for the Washington National Opera production of AIDA opening September 2017.