La Luz de Jesus Gallery is pleased to present ONWARD: A Portrait Exhibition, a group exhibition that examines the many facets of portrait painting. ONWARD debuts on May 3rd, with an opening reception from 8 pm to 11 pm, and it will be on show until June 2, 2019. In this group show, each artist's specific painting technique magnifies the subject through historical context, color, gesture, and application. The result is an abundant range of compositions from the traditional to the absurd, and in most cases, a combination of the two.

Valery Pobjoy is a traditional figurative painter who lives and works in Los Angeles, California. She received her BFA in Illustration from Art Center College of Design in 2014 and has shown extensively throughout Los Angeles. Pobjoy works from life combined with her raw imagination to create work that invites the eye to the darker side of the psyche.

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Baldur Helgason is an Icelandic visual artist and commercial illustrator living and working in Chicago, Illinois. His work recalls the Chicago imagists of the 1960s-70s era with inflated Condo-esque figures looking like they can be easily defated by a pin's prick. Helgason has shown extensively in Reykjavík, Chicago, and San Francisco.

Sung Jik Yang (Francis) is an expressionistic figurative painter living in Los Angeles, California. Yang's use of color and value personifies his subjects and creates an intensity reminiscent of the work of the late Alice Neel. His work reveals traits of the subject in addition to a reflection of his own psyche. Yang received his BFA in painting from Art Center College of Design in 2018.

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Yeo Kaa lives and works in the Philippines. Kaa's use of flat, vibrant hyper color sugarcoats the reality that she depicts in her paintings. As writer Ryan Reyes puts is, “Such a provocative combination of contrasting temperaments may well refer to a world full of contradictions, a world where the darker tendencies of human nature are masked by misleading façades [that] are lurking beneath pleasant veneers.” Kaa was a recent artist in residence at the Office for Contemporary Art, Yogyakarta- a collaboration with ARNDT Fine Art and the Working Animals Art Project.

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Michele Melcher lives in Carversville, Pennsylvania, a few miles from where George Washington crossed the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War. To Melcher, folklore, legends, history, natural science and the supernatural ignites her deep desire to create timeless paintings. Melcher also works as a freelance illustrator specializing in editorial and advertising.