plagues and pleasures

Images of the art, courtesy of curator Sarah Elise Abramson.

How can we know happiness without experiencing sadness? What do we know to be sane without experiencing the demented?

In a group exhibition curated by artist and critic Sarah Elise Abramson, these contradictions will be explored through the eyes and work of seven contemporary artists, Mr. Basic, Elizabeth McGrath, Robert Deutsch, Ryan Schude, Ryan McIntosh, Brianna Miller, and Beth Elliott in the show entitled Plagues & Pleasures at 4th Street Vine on Retro Row.

The opening reception will take place this Friday from 7:00PM to 11:00PM at 4th Street Vine, while the exhibition can be seen through Friday, August 28. The opening event is free and will feature the funk and soul of DJs Eusebio Akasa and Dust Digg.


According to the release, the show is inspired by a quote by Ranier Maria Rilke: “Don’t take my devils away, because my angels may flee, too.”

The artists selected for the show represent each side of the spectrum, the dark, the light, and the contradictory combination of the two.

Mr. Basic of Concave Oblivion, who prefers to remain anonymous, will show his idiosyncratic denture art at the show, while Elizabeth McGrath, inspired by the relationship between the natural world and the detritus of consumer culture, will bring to the show her whimsical yet grotesque sculpture. Robert Deutsch, a German-born freelance artist and graphic designer, will show his often erotic, always extravagant illustration work depicting his predicted future of blatant American consumerism.


Ryan Schude, a Los Angeles-based photographer, creates entertaining tableau vivants (pictured above) you can gaze at for hours on end to create, in the end, your own version of the hinted-at story.

Beth Elliot is a sculptor, installation and performance artist, who now frequently references clothing or uses wearable sculpture in her installation work based on her background as a member of the costume and performance art group “Friends of the Rag” and her 10-year experience as a set creative in the Hollywood film industry.

Ryan McIntosh is the Los Angeles-based contemporary artist whose Instagram account @artisshit was voted “Worst of Instagram” in 2013 for disruptive content. His work (pictured below) is exhibited and sold throughout the country, while he resides as both an artist, master printmaker and independent publisher.

Brianna Miller’s cartoonish paintings illustrate the oftentimes upsetting dissonance between who we are and how we imagine ourselves to be.

Abramson, who curated the show, is a working artist, writer and curator living in San Pedro, CA.


For more information about the exhibit and opening reception, click here.

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Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her @hugelandmass on Twitter and Instagram and at [email protected].