case study - A Visual Analysis of Injustice in America

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Mirrored Society is pleased to present Case Study – A Visual Analysis of Injustice in America. Case Study is an exhibition of work by eight artists presenting their vision and understanding of injustice in America.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

ERIBERTO ORIOL Born in Indio, CA, Eriberto Oriol grew up in the San Diego neighborhood of Barrio Logan before relocating to Los Angeles, his home now for over three decades. In addition to expanding his internationally recognized portfolio of photographs of LA Latino street life, street art and graffiti, a talent he would later pass down to son Estevan, he and wife Angelica Gonzalez-Oriol are enthusiastic, proactive supporters of the local art scene, which led them to curate the first major exhibition of graffiti art in Los Angeles in 1989. In addition to the recognition, the Oriols received from the Los Angeles City Council for the show’s contribution to the community and the praise from numerous media outlets, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles acquired a featured artwork for its permanent collection.

ESTEVAN ORIOL Estevan Oriol is an internationally celebrated professional photographer, director and urban lifestyle entrepreneur. Beginning his career as a hip-hop club bouncer turned tour manager for popular Los Angeles-based rap groups Cypress Hill and House of Pain, Estevan’s passion for photography developed while traveling the world. With an influential nudge and old camera from his father, renowned photographer Eriberto Oriol, Estevan began documenting life on the road and established a name for himself amid the emerging hip-hop scene.

Nearly 20 years later, Oriol’s extensive portfolio juxtaposes the glamorous and gritty planes of LA culture, featuring portraits of famous athletes, artists, celebrities and musicians as well as Latino, urban, gang, and tattoo counterculture lifestyles. He has photographed Al Pacino, Robert Dinero, Dennis Hopper, Marissa Miller, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Floyd Mayweather, and Lance Armstrong amongst others. He has also produced shoots for internationally acclaimed photographers such as Ellen von Unwerth for Sang Bleu and Luca Babini for GQ Italy. In addition to shooting campaigns for companies including Cadillac, Nike and Rockford Fosgate and directing new media projects for My Cadillac Stories, MetroPCS, MTV and Apple, Estevan has designed album covers and/or directed music videos for artists including Eminem, Cypress Hill, Blink 182, Snoop Dogg and Xzibit.

His work has been showcased in select galleries and institutions—such as Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives, Mesa Contemporary Art Center, Petersen Automotive Museum, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles’ Art in the Streets exhibit—concluding with a best-selling book of his work: LA Woman, capturing the dangerous and alluring beauty of women shot in his uniquely provocative and raw style. His photography has been featured in Complex, FHM, Juxtapoz, GQ, Vibe, Rolling Stone and other publications, with appearances on popular television shows such as, HBO’s Entourage and Last Call With Carson Daly.

OSCAR MAGALLANES A “New American Portrait” is an exhibition of new works by Los Angeles based artist Oscar Magallanes. Magallanes’ work is heavily influenced by the social and environmental issues of his upbringing in the now largely gentrified Mexican Barrio of Azusa. His work is known for its use bold graphics, cultural and political iconography, along with visual rhetoric of popular people’s movements such as that of labor and civil rights movements. 

This new body of work pays homage to Diego Rivera and Bertram David Wolfe’s “Portrait of America” which was collaboration in 1934 that tasked students of the New Workers School in New York to research alternate histories of labor in the United States. While Rivera and Wolfe’s work was unapologetically communist and idealistic in its assertion that the workers’ movement would create a classless society, we can clearly see in the 82 years since the widening rift between the working class and the wealthy in the United States today. Rivera’s work while having proven naive in the ability of communism to challenge capitalism has at the same time been proven correct in its predictions of capitalism’s oppressiveness to labor.  Set against the current theater of politics in which xenophobia has replaced the “good neighbor” Magallanes’ work serves as a portrait of America through its relationship with labor. A changing portrait of late capitalism or post-industrialism that reflects the enduring historical traumas of a complex people’s history of a nation.

DEMAR DOUGLAS Demar Douglas was born in Ypsilanti Mi and raised in Southern California. At a young age he already decided that he was going to be a artist when he grew up. After attending college he Started Blaqwata Studio. He has done many portraits, and illustration projects,as well as exhibited at various galleries. . His art represents the essence of his life experience. All of Demar's images appear to him in dreams and he interprets them with the stroke of a brush. During his early career Demar assumed the name Blaqwata to find his artistic voice. During that time he explored many different styles and themes in his art. It wasn't until some life changing events took place did he find that voice he had been searching for. The metamorphosis took place December 26th 2008. Frederick Douglass once said that without struggle there can be no progress. Demar now Armed with paint, canvas and a new perception of life, intends on taking the viewers on an exploration of the imagination. Demar feels similar to Joseph from Genesis. These life-inspiring images keep recurring to him until he paints them out of his mind. He has worked with a number of celebrity clientele, and companies creating captivating illustrations across many industries such as children’s books, book magazine and cd covers. Demar paints stylized surrealism within an abstract composition finding the beautiful struggle though life's opposition. You may view his art at DemarDouglas.com

PABLO UNZUETA This work was born out of the curiosity and concernment that I have for a large quantity of people who are experiencing poverty at its most brutal condition while living in Los Angeles. This is also dedicated for those who care enough about the issues occurring in the local communities. In an era of visual information, the landscape of poverty has been stereotyped, furthermore, simplified in its own standardized image without—a proper analysis—the bigger picture. What I have learned throughout this project, “The Others,” is that the poor are not found on every street corner, but are segregated into highly concentrated areas throughout the city in places like “Skid Row,” for example. These concentrated areas are riddled with violence, drugs, mental illness and poor sanitary conditions. These photographs are a contribution to a story being told about a bustling, but struggling city home to millions of people. My name is Pablo Unzueta. I’m an observer who is using a camera to share to the public the experiences and conditions I’ve seen while roaming and driving the street. There is no ego, only compassion in this type of work.

NYCHOLE OWENS Nychole Owens’ work speaks in distinctive ways to different people. It is through her art that she expresses the feminine goddess connection. Soulful and Afro centric, she strives to show the connection of the feminine spirit and the universe.  Her images unite the human experience with the elements of space and time.   

Nychole uses her art as a personal understanding of female energy, strength and beauty.  She blends what is real with the abstract in composition that has both personal and universal meaning.  Her art conveys the infinite potential that is inside all of us, “My work is intended for all people”, says Nychole.  For the female she may realize the inner beauty and divine nature that lies within us all.  For the male he may be reminded that women are not merely objects of physical beauty but spiritual leaders and the caretakers of us all.

Nychole is dedicated to the craft of visual expression, not as isolated art, but as a way of life.  She notes, ‘Drawing has always been for me a way for me to express feelings I could not verbalize. I’m sure it saved my life on many occasions. It’s my escape, my love, my entertainment, and my joy to release images from my head onto a beautiful smooth sheet of paper or soft cut of wood. I draw from my loss, love, pain, frustration, dreams, knowledge and the beauty I see in the world.’                                                                                                                                                                                

JULIAN LUCAS Born in Chicago and raised in Los Angeles. Julian Lucas was introduced to photography while in high school, however it wasn't until he was in college that he grew a strong interest in the art form. He was re-introduced to the medium while sitting in classes he wasn't technically registered for. What made him even more intrigued with photography was when he began to model to help pay for some school supplies. That is when he began to study traditional photography while pursuing a BA in Sociology at Portland State University. Julian's photographic images explore fine art nude imagery as well as those that evolve around social issues, which challenge social boundaries. He is intrigued by life and uses the camera to document what he finds interesting. 

Julian’s published work includes Vice and Ink Junkie Magazine. He was co-founder and editor of ieLAvate Magazine (2011-2013). From 2002 to present, he has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in galleries throughout Los Angeles and Portland. He is currently working on his first self-published book entitled, "Squid" which focuses on mental illness. He also has many ongoing projects, one of which is The Duality series. This body of work is a conceptual truth, which was contrived by history as well as my personal experiences. The imagery symbolizes a regression within America. We have come so far yet we are still light years behind.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

MARCO ROMANO BHIMANI Marco Romano Bhimani (aka Bastard Artist) is a Los Angeles based fine-art photographer, known locally for his stylized portrait work with LA’s underground hip-hop artists, punks, graffiti writers, gang-bangers, street racers, and all the disassociated dissidents aimlessly meandering through the undercurrents of LA’s urbanized shrouded street. 

Marco began shooting video and documentary portraiture over 20 years ago and hasn’t stopped since. He has aimed his artistic sights to a revealing and unflinching glance of the gritty rawness of uninhibited flesh, pushing the protruding lens into the subversive while riding the fine line between art and misanthropy.

This collection of images that make up this body of work illustrate the thoughts, frustrations and feelings about those that are sworn to Protect and to Serve. The statement is clear as day: FUCK THE POLICE!

The Los Angeles police department has been scrutinized throughout the years as being racist, corrupt and for being particularly brutal with African-American and Latino people. Street memorials line the sidewalks and act as a constant reminder scattered about the low-income areas of South Los Angeles, where police violence has taken the lives of many young men and women alike. This recent rash of violence and hatred for law enforcement only surges and I don't see the boiling point cooling anytime soon...

ABOUT MIRRORED SOCIETY Mirrored Society specializes in photo books, art books, and zines by local and international artists. Our gallery exhibits established and emerging artists. Our collection is carefully selected to present a genuine representation of the arts. Mirrored Society continues to grow according to its founding principles of exploration and friendship, working with like-minded individuals to forge a creative environment that reaches far beyond.