Christofer Churchill / Mike Kelley

September 7 – October 12, 2019

Parrasch Heijnen is pleased to present the gallery’s first solo exhibition of new work by Ojai-based artist Christofer Churchill.

Through underlying chromatic tension, Churchill depicts an amalgamation of emotions by fusing intense layers with vivid energy and a highly saturated palette. Throughout his career, Churchill has used found material as a substructure, creating palimpsests, assigning new meaning to once utilitarian objects. Each work begins with the material’s emotional resonance as a well-worn object informed by long-held associations and personal reminiscence.

Churchill paints with found metal tools on unconventional art surfaces such as abandoned tent canvas blackened by cooking soot and debris, recycled hardbound books, tabletops, discarded manila folders, and free readymades. These reassigned objects, warranting a visceral response, are overlaid with expressionistic imagery through a ritualistic additive and subtractive process. The artist denies opaque economic systems, such as the production of goods, where labor and environmental impact are often unaccounted. The active refusal to purchase new materials, using only societal castoffs, shifts meaning to a more intentional model wholly reliant on himself. 

Within Churchill’s paintings a vulnerability exists that responds directly from individual experience. The artist recreates the synchronicity of his body within spatial memory by the physicality of his motions. Through this entoptic imagery, the work aims to blur awareness and distort consciousness, where sensory streams desynchronize into an overall sense of presence. In Churchill’s paintings, abstractions of the body and nature are of equal standing. The results function as subconscious recollections of the everyday expressed through muscle memory into an alternate form of understanding. 

Concurrently on view in the front space is a selection of work by Mike Kelley (b. 1954, d. 2012) in direct historic conversation with Christofer Churchill. The relationship focuses on a critique of social and political systems where each seeks out hidden vulnerability in the viewer. 

Christofer Churchill (b.1971, Long Beach, CA) is an Ojai-based artist working primarily in painting, collage, and drawing. After graduating with a B.A. at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, he went on to receive an M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI. His work has been the focus of numerous solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson, AZ; Martos Gallery, New York, NY; Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York, NY; The Contemporary Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI.

Mike Kelley was born in 1954 in Detroit, Michigan, and died in 2012 in Los Angeles, California. He received his B.A. in 1976 from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and his M.F.A. in 1978 from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia. Recent solo exhibitions include Categorical Imperative and Morgue, Van Abbemuseum, Stedelijk, Netherlands (2000); Sod and Sodie Sock (w/Paul McCarthy), Biennale d’art contemporain de Lyon, Institut d’art contemporain, France (2003); Mike Kelley–The Uncanny, the Tate Liverpool, England (2004, traveled to MUMOK, Museum of Modern Art, Vienna); Profounders vertes, Musée du Louvre, Paris (2006); Day is Done Judson Church Dance, Judson Memorial Church, New York (2009); Themes and Variations from 35 Years, The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2012); Mobile Homestead, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Michigan (2013); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2013); An Homage to Mike Kelley, MoMA PS1, New York (2013); and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2014).

Christofer Churchill / Mike Kelley will be on view at Parrasch Heijnen Gallery, 1326 S. Boyle Avenue, Los Angeles, from September 7, 2019 - October 12, 2019, with an opening reception taking place on September 7, from 6 - 8p. For more information, please contact the gallery at +1 (323) 943-9373 or

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