Richard Heller Gallery is proud to announce our second solo exhibition by Stockholm, Sweden-based artist, Joakim Ojanen.
"Ojanen's artwork embodies the inner child within all of us. His paintings, drawings, bronze castings, and ceramic sculptures capture genuine moments of human expression. When they are grouped together they create delicate and emotionally charged narratives. While maintaining a sense of humor they manage to hit an intense spot in the human psyche, perhaps a subconscious adolescent need none of us ever get over; the desire to belong. Piece by piece each of Ojanen's works tells a story about finding one's way in the world and reminds us it's okay to be ourselves." Laura Mylott Manning.
In his new body of work, Ojanen expands into more complex motifs and materials. In "Flower Eyes, Yin Yang Shirt, and Polka Dot Dress," a young woman in a yellow, bell-shaped, dress plaintively holds a vase containing a wilted thistle. Her eyes pop out of her head and morph into delicate flowers. Her dress, also surrounded by flowers, features a cave-like hole, which reveals a pair of bare feet that straddle a small detached head. Ojanen has also created two large-scale bronze sculptures for the show. In "Bossy Bird Claimed My Nose In The Park," a drunk and queasy park denizen awakens to find his extended Pinocchio/Giacometti nose has been taken over by a nesting bird.
A multi-disciplinary artist, Ojanen has spent the last few months creating this body of work in a studio provided by Long Beach City College.
Born in 1985, Västerås, Sweden, Ojanen now lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. Ojanen received his MFA from Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm, Sweden, in 2014 and his BA from Konstfack in 2012. Ojanen has had numerous solo and two-person exhibitions, including at Richard Heller Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, U.S.; Ruttkowski;68, Cologne, Germany; Galerie Lefevbre & Fils, Paris, France; and Gallery Steinsland Berliner, Stockholm, Sweden. Ojanen has received praise and appeared in various print and online publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Hyperallergic, Juxtapoz Magazine, Elephant, Hi Fructose, Paper Magazine, Artillery Magazine, Art Maze Mag, Cool Hunting, Wall Street International Magazine, The Hundreds, Ravelin, and It's Nice That.
Paper Magazine, Justin Moran, "The Swedish Artist Making Creepy, Comedic Sculptures," March 30.
Juxtapoz Magazine, Sasha Bogojev, "Merry Melancholy," Comedic Sculptures.
Ravelin, Matilda Dahlgren, "Joakim Ojanen at The Journal Gallery's Tennis Elbow."
Art Maze Mag, Christina Nafziger, "Strange Yet Relatable and Lovable Ceramic Characters by Joakim Ojanen."
Hi Fructose, Andy Smith, "Joakim Ojanen's Playful, Ageless Characters," December 22.
Wall Street International Magazine, "Joakim Ojanen," December 9.
Hyperallergic, Edward M. Gómez, "Dallas Art Fair Review: At the 2017 Dallas Art Fair, Big Ambitions and the Big Mo," April 8.
It's Nice That, Lucy Bourton, "The expressive paintings and sculptures of Joakim Ojanen," January 10.
The Hundreds, Zio, "The Secret Life of Joakim Ojanen's Art," January 6.
Cool Hunting, Karen Day, "Miami Art Week 2016: Creature Keepers - Animated sculptures that kept us on our toes at the fairs this year," December 9.
Los Angeles Times, David Pagel, "Joakim Ojanen: Innocence and melancholy, sculpted into old souls and teary dogs," July 5.
Elephant, Emily Steer, "5 Questions with Joakim Ojanen," July.
Artillery Magazine, Jody Zellen, "Joakim Ojanen," July 20.
Artillery Magazine, Eve Wood, "Pick of the Week," July 7.
Colección Solo, Madrid, Spain
Statens Konstråd (Public Art Agency Sweden)
Västerås Art Museum, Sweden
Åberg Museum, Bålsta, Sweden
Frans Masereel Centrum, Belgium
The City of Gothenburg, Sweden
The City of Linköping, Sweden
The City of Eskilstuna, Sweden
The City of Östersund, Sweden
The City of Katrineholm, Sweden
County Council of Gävleborg, Sweden
The Ryerson & Burnham Libraries, Art Institute of Chicago, US