Retna’s “New Paintings and Works on Paper” at the Michael Kohn Gallery thru October 27, 2012.

Retna‘s work is easily identifiable. If you were one of the throngs visiting last summer’s MOCA Art in the Street or PMCA Street Cred show, have driven by the new WeHo library, visited a gallery in the last few year or just walked around L.A, then you’ve seen his work.

Retna’s work is much like candy for your eyes and carrots for your brain. Visually pleasing, any of his pieces would look incredible as the only element on your otherwise unadorned wall (or the side of your building.) Mentally, his work lights up your brain: simple yet complex, calm yet agitated, subtle yet overpowering, exact yet fluid, static yet loose, organic yet constructed, geometric yet undefined… all the things that make you go “ooooh, ahhhh.”

Call it script, characters, hieroglyphics, symbols, Retna’s letterforms speak to everything that is exciting about type. Seeming to draw from Arabic script, Roman numerals and Chinese brush characters melded with Egyptian, Aztec and Mayan glyphs, his paintings feels like vibrant coded messages. No paint drip or stroke replicable, each piece becomes a distinct one-of-a-kind. His works on wood are also incredibly powerful — almost like braille for the visually enabled, expressing the texture physically that his other works evoke with paint. His collaborations, especially with the muralist El Mac, should also be experienced. (Google them. Now.) 

Check out his latest show at the Michael Kohn Gallery. Especially if you like shimmer, there are several sparkly pieces with his signature symbols along with an expansive new painting and some more photographic works.

Love — Fling Girl

RETNA New Paintings and Works on Paper
Michael Kohn Gallery
September 15 thru October 27
8071 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048
TUES to FRI 10am–6pm, SAT 11am–6pm
(323) 658-8088  


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