Issue 91 (August, 2008)

She's My Heroin(e)
May 10 - May 31
Copro/Nason Gallery
Santa Monica, California

By Evan Pricco

One of the first things that caught my eye upon reading the bio of Luke Chueh was how he "stylistically balances cute with brute". The Cannibal Flower roots make for a good starting point in understanding Luke's rise from underground artist to the current prestigious honor of exhibiting at some of Los Angeles' premier galleries. Cute and brute are two words that precisely summarize Luke Chueh's newest work at Copro/Nason. Luke had his own viewpoint on his newest solo show. "She's My Heroin(e) explores what it means to live with love, especially when those feelings are misguided or artificially fueled aspects."
In the past, Luke's work would force the audience to face the fact that cute figures are capable of vicious acts; a fantasyland for those who don't mind, or are deeply philosophical about, the possibility of an unhappy ending. Paintings like Jacked, depict a round, gentle looking bear, saw in hand riding a dear with tear in his eye, or The Things You Love Will Destroy You featuring the simple image of a rabbit calmly stepping on the back of another rabbit. The characters possess cuteness, the acts are brutish. In many of the paintings, Luke's use of a deep red background begs the question of whether these characters are acting so evil because we are, in fact, in hellish state. Or, in the least purgatory. Regardless, the work provokes.
Gary Pressman, curator of Copro/Nason Gallery explained She's My Heroin(e). "Although Luke's paintings appear simple, they conjure emotion and that's what people are attracted to. There's a certain subtle sophistication to his work. If you get it, you love it. The themes vary from love, pain, lots of blood, and irony wrapped up in a mystery inside an enigma."