A Beautiful Haunting: Jolene Lai Channels the Extraordinary @ Thinkspace Projects
"I especially enjoy exploring the neighborhood I live in during the late hours," muses painter Jolene Lai. One look at her work, and you can see how quiet moments that can only come from observing life in the still hours of the night create mystery and wonder. "There's something enigmatic about seeing houses illuminated against the stark darkness that envelops them at this hour. It was on one of those sleepless nights when I was out exploring and capturing the beautiful array of homes that I stumbled upon an unexplored street just around the corner. The seemingly long, unending street had no name, but was foreign yet familiar, all at once. I was certain several of the houses existed on other streets I had walked down before. The further I walked, the more surreal it became. It was as if someone picked up the houses I came to know and appreciate, then planted them between others that were alien to me."
Sparked by this extraordinary encounter, Jolene Lai conceived A Beautiful Haunting, a collection of new paintings on view at Thinkspace in Culver City from September 14—October 5, 2019. Many of the works find inspiration in some of the most iconic pop-horror films, referencing from classic thrillers such as Rosemary's Baby and "Psycho. The exhibition will feature 16 new oil paintings and drawings, as well as a large-scale paper installation.
Even though the exhibition draws inspiration from horror and thriller films, there are some playful nods to pop-culture, as well, in the works, for example, Humpty Dumpty gets revenge on an unsuspecting woman as they stumble down a staircase. In SD, Scooby-Doo stares vigilantly, between grafted trees, ears perked, in guarded stance. "(In) A Beautiful Haunting, I want to construct a plane where the relatable and comforting comes into contact with emotions of unfamiliar and unsettlement," Lai says.
Jolene Lai opens A Beautiful Haunting at Thinkspace Projects on September 14, 2019, with an opening reception from 6 to 9 pm, and is on view through October 5, 2019.