"Year of the Dog": Joakim Ojanen Explores the Child in All of Us in New Show @ Richard Heller Gallery

Jun 16, 2018 - Jul 28, 2018Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica

Through a series of paintings, drawings and perhaps his strongest series of ceramic works to date, Joakim Ojanen just opened his most recent solo exhibit, Year of the Dog, at Richard Heller Gallery in Santa Monica, CA. Ojanen spent the last few months in a studio provided by Long Beach City College, giving the Swedish-born artist a Southern California base to realize this new body of work, which is on view through July 28, 2018. Make sure to read our interview with Ojanen from 2017 here.

Joakim Ojanen’s artwork embodies the inner child within all of us. He creates a deeply personal universe full of unique characters that automatically win the heart of the viewer with their sincerity. His paintings 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

One of the things that has always struck us about Ojanen's work is that through all his range of painitngs, drawings and sculpture (even a bronze work in this show), there is sense of trial and error and experimentation that makes each work fun and challenging. They are imperfect but honest. Stylized but free. Childlike but serious. There is what Manning says, that inner child in all of us idea, but also a grown-up looking back on childhood and trying to piece together memories and feelings. Perhaps in Year of the Dog, Ojanen is getting closer and closer to rediscovering his childhood. 

Read our 2017 interview with Joakim Ojanen here.