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Artistaday.com - Find new contemporary art, create your own gallery of art

Guest curator: Matt Kennedy  
Director, La Luz de Jesus Gallery



About Matt


Matt Kennedy is the director of La Luz de Jesus Gallery which was established in 1986 as the brainchild of entrepreneur and art collector Billy Shire and is largely considered responsible for fostering a new school of California art.

Matt first came to work for Billy Shire in 1991, and managed the gallery until 1995. It was during his tenure at the original Melrose location of La Luz de Jesus that the Kustom Kulture movement exploded. These years are now recognized as the Golden Age of Lowbrow. Kennedy returned as Gallery Director of La Luz de Jesus in March 2009.



Matt's selections


James Jean

Los Angeles, CA

"The most awarded cover artist in the comic book biz has certainly transcended the trappings of sequential art to become a force majeur in the contemporary art world. His liquid colors and effortless-looking lines are nothing short of magical. He came to a life-painting workshop we hosted at BSFA back in 2009 and watching him work was a revelation. Looking at portfolios these days I see a lot of his influence on the new generation."

Christine Wu

Los Angeles, CA

"I gave Christine her very first feature exhibition after booking her into a museum show–all within days of her graduation from Art Center Christine is the artist whose work I collect the most, and one of my favorite people to work with. She takes duality to a much different place and captures motion in an entirely original way. She's also an excellent technician, which ensures that we'll be talking about her work for a long time to come."

Mark Todd

Sierra Madre, CA

"His deconstruction of Jack Kirby-style superheroes is an authentic tribute to classic comic book iconography whereas I find Roy Lichtenstein's work to be a bit plagiaristic. Mine is probably a controversial view, I realize, but to me the 60s pop artists borrowed the iconography as a sort of exploitation which is impossible to say of Mark Todd's thoroughly respectful use of specific images from the comics of his own childhood collection. Todd has a reverence for archetypes expressed by what he leaves out of his pieces rather than merely copying great panels."

Mark Bodnar

Los Angeles, CA

"Light is difficult to express in painting. There are a handful of modern painters that can capture it perfectly, and lesser still who have their own style. Mark Bodnar is a very successful animator and as a result doesn't have much time to dedicate to gallery work, which is a loss for anyone who hasn't seen his work in person. When we last exhibited his paintings in November 2009, I had to show patrons that there was not a light box behind them–I literally had to remove the pieces from the wall and show them the backs to convince them that this was just acrylic paint on canvas. If the Looney Tunes were real people, they would pay Mark Bodnar millions to paint their portraits, which I suppose makes him the Rembrandt of the rugrat set."

Aaron Smith

Los Angeles, CA

"I first met Aaron Smith a little over 20 years ago, when he applied for a job at the gallery where I was then an assistant manager. It was La Luz de Jesus Gallery, we hired him, and the rest is history. Aaron is one of the most gifted figurative painters alive. His ability to move from mannerist to symbolic while infusing elements of the Baroque and Rococo in pieces that practically drip with art history references that are impossibly contemporary is unique. He's also helped shape the current pop surrealist landscape as the Illustration Chair at Art Center. He's a rare example of an incredibly talented artist who is also a great teacher."

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