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How Artists Survive : Part 5 -- Raven's Floating Worlds

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Last Saturday I walked from Tim Youd's performance piece at the downtown Postal Annex up the hill, from the heart of LA's commercialization of it's roots (Olvera Street) to the other world of Chinatown and into Coagula Curatorial. Mat Gleason was resting casually on the couch just inside and couple of women were on the other side of the gallery reading and relaxing. I enjoyed the show upstairs, Aberrant Abstraction, very much (especially Matthew Brandt's photographs, on loan from LA Louver). Then, when I went downstairs into the Basement Gallery, I entered a completely different universe.

Raven Servellon's paintings inhabit unusual and new spaces in art work after art work. Done of a repetitive, rhythmic technique of lines and circles and other shapes arranged and weaved into creations that become illustrated dreams, they are the artists way of finding a way out of and into the piece.

"My next step is to not think about my next step." -- Ravel Servellon

Raven calls them "Oprical Dellusions".

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Cherry Blossoms, 2013
Mixed media, 12" x 9"
Photograph by Marianne Williams

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Masquerade, 2013
Mixed media, 12" x 9"
Photograph by Marianne Williams

"I know I've done my job when I've disoriented myself. It makes me happy." -- Raven Sevellon

They have a Japanese wood block print feel to them while inhabiting a poppy domain, like being in Tokyo toy shop.

I went back upstairs and told Mat how much I loved them, and Mat said I could tell her myself when she came back into the room. She was instantly charming and exuberant, and we went back downstairs to talk about the work.

I told her the first thing I thought of when I saw them was "wallpaper", in a good way, that is. The way wallpaper can mesmerize you and provide space in the wall itself, and she said that was cool.

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Lady Ligeia, 2012
Mixed media, 12" x 9"
Photograph by Marianne Williams

I asked her what she thought of when she was doing them. She said something just comes to her mind, she draws it and then the painting starts to appear. She brings her sketch book with her to her day job working for a premier psychic/intuitive counselor service, just in case an idea pops into her head.

"I think of monkeys, eye, mouth, flower, and teeth." -- Raven Servellon

The paintings mostly work by flattening space, at the same time by pulling the viewer close to look at the details, which are rendered vibrantly colored and purposefully floating. In "Butterfly Kingdom" that flatness is invaded a bit by the ridges in the center, which give weight to the sort of live pattern that some of the butterflies seem to float out of.

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Butterfly Kingdom, 2012
Mixed media, 18" x 24"
Photograph by Marianne Williams

It's a wonderful piece, as evidenced by the red dot on the wall.

In Treasure Chest, the aspect of wall covering is as actual as it could be in these works, as the two characters, the ones with the treasured chests, sit in front of an exotic lamp, posing for us. I asked her about that piece and she said she might do more of them. "Drawing those boobs was fun," she said with a twinkle in her eye.

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The Treasure Chest, 2013
Mixed media, 12" x 9"
Photograph by Marianne Williams

It feels like they were all super fun to draw, or paint, as the case may be. Either way, it is great work that is honest, fun and original.

The show came down today, unfortunately, but you can intuit that she'll be surviving and thriving and you'll see her world around.

Coagula Curatorial is located at 977 Chung King Rd. in downtown LA. Go visit.