May 6 - June 10, 2023

Maria Bang Espersen ∙ Helia Chitsazan ∙ Hea-Mi Kim ∙ Shizuka Kusayanagi ∙ Amy Silver ∙ Nathaniel Kyung Smith ∙ Michael Norton ∙ Saxon JJ Quinn ∙ Amy MacKay ∙  Se Oh

Press Release 

la Beast gallery is pleased to present CHIMERA, an exhibition of ten artists exploring the power of illusion, fable, and belief. Curated by gallery co-founder Roxana Eslamieh, CHIMERA balances a range of media and motifs in a ritualistic excavation of the legends that shaped us.

The exhibition features mystical paintings, works on paper, and sculptures by Maria Bang Espersen, Helia Chitsazan, Hea-Mi Kim, Shizuka Kusayanagi, Nathaniel Kyung Smith, Amy MacKay, Michael Norton, Saxon JJ Quinn, Amy Silver, and Se Oh. The artists are connected by a mutual inquiry into intricate webs of folklore and the ways it manifests in everyday life. Fantasy becomes entangled with reality when the ephemera of their devoted practices align, exposing the vast skeletal structure of humankind’s most profound stories.  

About The Exhibition + The Artists

Within a dream, statues of mythological guardians beckon passersby with riddles—there are no right answers. Wandering eyes are ensnared by portals to dimensions both vivid and terrifying; gazing amongst these realms should be exercised with great care. Stories become crystallized within a permeable monument to time, like the honeycomb of a beehive. Artifacts of temptation promise sweetness only to proffer death once consumed. A face is but two sides meddled into one. Rebirth is rampant: a pearl materializes from pure nothingness. The labyrinth deepens, as endless as the space between stars, reverberating songs of a siren dwelling in a fountain at its center. A Sphinx holds guard; only those who utter the magic word may enter. These artworks are vessels of modern myth, conjuring sacred knowledge from all lips that have chronicled their story. 

CHIMERA is inspired by Persian folktales told to Roxana by her late grandmother. Beautiful and bizarre, the space is arranged with these surreal narratives in mind. The eternally loose threads of legend act as shepherds through space and time. Viewers can almost grasp the heart of one tale before becoming lost in another. Despite the commotion, serenity prevails. CHIMERA traverses geographies and cultures to summon epic heroes and beasts within a contemporary context. Interweaving their own personal lore, the artists of CHIMERA flip the tapestry of life to bask in the beauty of its chaos. The curator expresses the universal sanctity of myth, “...the artist’s hand is guided by an almost invisible history—as fundamental as genetic code passed down from generation to generation.” 

The weight of these chronologies is distributed atop the shoulders of every child born, and every elder laid to rest. Stories change and transmute as a result of shifting territories and evolving language. Dreams are the lifeblood of myth, encapsulating existence at its most elemental. Slumbering visions dematerialize upon waking; logic dissipates, like the transitory body of a passing cloud. What remains are moments caught between dreams and reality, with these, CHIMERA constructs a world whose boundaries have blurred beyond recognition. Personifying a potent sum of stories passed down through the ages, CHIMERA distills the magic of belief to its most conceivable essence.