Vanessa German “$lang: Short Language in Soul” at Gavlak LA

Gavlak Los Angeles
through May 25th

“Growing up I did not fit in. I never knew the Slang of the day. I was always ‘other’ & ‘outside of’, even in my own community I was strange. This changed for me when I had no other choice but to listen to my soul, to trust it. The parts of myself that only quake from the inside of the inside of the inside.” ~Vanessa German

Vanessa German is a powerful poet. Her potent charged words come forth in her riveting performances. Striking, they produce emotional ripples, provoke reflection, and inspire action. She speaks passionately about many urgent issues of the day – crime, violence, discrimination, identity, community, and hypocrisy of religious and political institutions. And just as fervently she speaks about Love – love for one’s family, neighbors, nature and our planet. When speaking of social ills, German doesn’t just point things out, she actively works within her community in Homewood (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), striving to bring lasting changes, protect, empower and also heal. All that the artist is and does literally and figuratively is imbedded in her artwork, which is magical and powerful in its imagery and the ideas it puts forward.

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Jwan Yosef at Praz-Delavallade Gallery

Artist Jwan Yosef is cool, calm and collected. With serious countenance, he jokes often. Through his work, Yosef has been trying to answer his own questions–identity, politics, religion, sexuality and sense of belonging are the topics he addresses. The concept of duality presents itself frequently in Yosef’s work and the origin of it stems from his personal history, filled with many opposites that produced so much unity. Only a person who questions his feelings about and understanding of his environment and his place in it, can eventually arrive at certainty about feeling uncertain and find confidence in spite of the inner ambivalence.

A walk through the exhibition rooms at Praz-Delavallade in Los Angeles reveals a number of paintings, sculptures and objects that ambiguously fall in either of the two categories. If this is your first time seeing the work of Jwan Yosef, questions, one after another, will certainly pop up in your head. You may or may not think of the answers, but you most likely will not stay emotionally indifferent.

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Anna Shukeylo: painting the essence and precious memories of familiar spaces

Anna Shukeylo’s artistic career started at four and a half, when she aced the admissions test to Saint Petersburg’s art school and entered a rigorous art training in addition to her regular school curriculum. It was prophetic that her family lived on Xudozhnikov Prospect; translated from Russian, it is a Street of Painters. When Anna was around ten, her family relocated to the U.S. She continued studying art throughout school and ended up going to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. A few months after graduating with BFA/Certificate in Painting, she moved to New York, where she received her MFA in Painting from Pratt Institute in 2014. Today, Anna has her studio in the city and lectures full-time as a Fine Arts professor at Kean University.

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Salvador Di Quinzio: “The magic is in the interpretation of what you see.”

If you find delight in the three-paneled garden of Hieronymus Bosch, you will surely enjoy artwork by self-taught Venezuelan artist Salvador Di Quinzio. “My audience is made up of people who resonate, who vibrate whenever they see something that tickles their mind.” Salvador takes great pleasure in imagining and then painting his stories. He carefully places many clues within his pictorial narratives for those who will take time to look into the details, diving deep into their knowledge of universal myths, symbology, and psychology. “These symbols will be picked up by only a few people. I am interested in the intellectual chemistry that happens at the level of thoughts and ideas.”

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