Art News

LeBasse Projects Presents a Collaborative Exhibition by Risk and COOZ

artwork: Risk & COOZ - "Then and Now", 2011 - Mixed media on panel - 36" x 36" - Courtesy LeBasse Projects, Culver City. On view in "Risk and COOZ: That Was Then, This Is Now” from August 20th until September 3rd.

Culver City, CA.- LeBasse Projects is pleased to present “Risk and COOZ: That Was Then, This Is Now”, on view at the gallery from August 20th through September 3rd. “That Was Then, This Is Now” is the first major collaborative exhibition by Kelly Graval and Nathan Ota, aka Risk and COOZ. The traveling exhibition reunites these artists whose friendship began before they would respectfully become graffiti legends in the streets and revered artists in galleries and museums internationally. Risk and Nathan Ota collaborated together over 25 years ago when they were classmates in high school. After high school, they went their separate ways but reconnected once again through their mutual friends in the artist community. Two friends with similar beginnings have taken two very different paths are now back together again with new skill, understanding and maturity as artists.

The artists’ collaborations were initially revived when Nathan Ota invited RISK to join him as part of an exhibition with apparel brand Hurley at their corporate offices. The success of that show led to the commitment from both to continue their work together and launched the first stop of this traveling exhibit at San Francisco’s 11 Minna – a stalwart of the City’s arts scene. For years, Nathan Ota has been pursuing new worlds, both dark and fantastic, to explore in his paintings. Ota has used his stand-ins – a blind bird, a drunk monkey, a one-eyed robot lost in the woods – to travel through dreamlands that hold fantasies and tragedies, even landing him in the unlikeliest destination – the world inside the artist’s own studio. Nathan majored in Illustration and received his Bachelors degree at Art Center College of Art and Design, Pasadena Ca. 1993. Ota currently teaches at Otis College of Art and Design and Santa Monica City College. In a career spanning 28 years, RISK has impacted the evolution of graffiti as an art form worldwide.

artwork: Risk & COOZ - "Cooz", 2011 - Mixed media on panel - 36" x 72" - Courtesy LeBasse Projects, Culver City. On view in "Risk and COOZ: That Was Then, This Is Now” from August 20th until September 3rd.

Risk is one of the most prolific graffiti artists to date. Los Angeles based, RISK gained major notoriety for his unique style and pushed the limits of graffiti further than any writer in L.A. had before: He was one of the first writers to paint freight trains, freeways, buses and he pioneered writing on “heavens,” or freeway overpasses. At the peak of his career he took graffiti from the streets and into the gallery with the launch of the Third Rail series of art shows and later parlayed the name into the first authentic line of graffiti-inspired clothing – which led to the birth of the street wear genre. Risk focuses on the traditional aesthetics of letter formation. He combines this with his unique deconstruction and color layering to achieve a visual texture of color and surroundings. Graval majored in Fine arts at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles Ca. 1992. The art of RISK is currently on exhibition in both the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

LeBasse Projects is focused on the development of a carefully selected roster of international emerging artists. Since opening its doors in the Culver City Art District in 2009, LeBasse Projects has presented a program that fosters the growth of its artists by allowing them the freedom to create across a range of mediums. In March 2011, LeBasse Projects expanded its gallery footprint with a second location in Los Angeles historic Chinatown Gallery District. Along with a series of international exhibitions, LeBasse Projects is putting forth an ambitious program of some of the most cutting edge work in new contemporary art today. Visit the gallery’s website at …