When Brooklyn-based painter Stella Im Hultberg was working on her latest paintings, she read Haruki Murakami's novel 1Q84. Twice. The Japanese surrealist's writing has long been an inspiration to her.
"I find that there are parts of any of his books where i feel he actually can describe some of my ideas for my art better than I can," Stella says.
I first discovered Stella's paintings in 2006 when she she was a young Brooklyn artist/toy designer who had just started showing her work in galleries. At the time, I said her work "makes me think of Egon Schiele and Ralph Steadman meeting in one of Aubrey Beardsley's absinthe dreams." Stella's painting has evolved considerably since then and my love for it has continued to deepen. In 2007, my wife and I purchased one of her large watercolors, seen here, and it remains the centerpiece of our living room.
This Saturday (9/29), Stella has an exhibition of new work opening at Culver City's Thinkspace Art Gallery. (The show, titled "Borrowed Memories," is a joint exhibition with Georgia-based painter Tran Nguyen, whose dreamlike juxtapositions are also beautiful to behold.) I'm thrilled to share a preview of Stella's paintings, several of which represent a new approach for her that incorporates sculpture.
"Most of the works in the show include or touch on the idea of a 'disconnect' - the disconnect from oneself, the disconnect from the world, the disconnect from others," Stella says. "I feel that most people will feel some kind of disconnect - the kind you felt during pubescent years that people tell you to get over, shed and move on to become an adult - a part of the grown-up world. Sometimes, though, I feel that it continues, in different ways and at different stages of life, and becomes a part of one's identity - not necessarily in a bad way, though."
More images from the show below.