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David Jien

Richard Heller Gallery is pleased to present the second solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist, David Jien.

In this second chapter of Jien’s epic narrative, he continues the chronicles of an allegorical future detailing a battle in which human and anthropomorphic beings continue the struggle against a race of balloon-headed creatures and cold-blooded reptilian overlords who seek world domination

The title piece of the show, "Exodus," is also Jien’s largest work to date measuring 25.5 x 92 inches in length and took him the better part of two years to complete.

Taking inspiration from the infinite possibilities of science fiction, the storytelling of Henry Darger, the isometric perspective and narrative geography of Nintendo and Chinese scroll paintings, the eroticism of Japanese pillow books and the limitless transformations of graffiti, Jien has once again painstakingly crafted these new and intensely detailed scenarios in colored pencil on paper and sculpture.

Jien grew up in Los Angeles, immersed in his own world of Nintendo, Legos, puzzle toys and manga. Obsessed with drawing animals and monsters as a child, he later transferred that passion to graffiti, and spent many years bending, melting and transforming letter forms upon the walls of the city. After the graffiti lifestyle turned "complicated," he enrolled at Art Center College of Design, graduating in 2009 with a BFA in Illustration. He initially focused on graphite drawings of metamorphosis, alphabets, rubbery forms, alien biology and geometric Psychedelia, establishing the setting of his narrative landscape and evolving his own folklore about the dawn of time, when mythological beings still walked amongst men. David Jien’s work has been enthusiastically received at EXPO CHICAGO, Pulse Miami Contemporary Art Fair and at The Armory Show in New York.

New work by Jien will be shown at Richard Heller Gallery's booth, A16, at UNTITLED, ART Miami 2017.

1981, Los Angeles, CA
Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA

2009  BFA, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA


New Work, Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica, CA (forthcoming).
Time Will Tell, Tarble Arts Center, Charleston, IL.

Exodus, Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

The Plight of the Who, Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica, CA


Beheaded, Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

EXPO CHICAGO, Richard Heller Gallery, Chicago, IL
How High?, Left Field Gallery, San Luis Obispo, CA
Seattle Art Fair, Richard Heller Gallery, Seattle, WA
Geo Necro, curated by Casey Smith, ADA gallery, Richmond, VA (forthcoming)
Tales that must be told: Contemporary narrative art, curated by Siobhan McClure, Cypress College, Cypress, CA
Some Americans and Some More, curated by David Pagel, Peggy Phelps gallery, Claremont University, Claremont, CA

Expo Chicago, Richard Heller Gallery, Chicago, IL
November Group Show, Narwhal Contemporary, Toronto, ON
Ill Squad, curated by Andrew Hem, Giant Robot Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Duck Show, Greenpoint Terminal Gallery, New York, NY

Armory Show, Richard Heller Gallery, New York, NY
Anxiety, The New York Times, New York, NY

Miami Project, Richard Heller Gallery, Miami, FL
Art on Paper Biennial: The 42nd Exhibition - Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC
Art Platform, Richard Heller Gallery, The Barker Hangar, Santa Monica, CA
The Beginning, Beginnings Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Where my cones at? (curated by Ryan Travis Christian) Double Break, San Diego, CA
Armory Show, Richard Heller, New York, NY

Armory Show, Richard Heller, New York, NY
December Group Show, Guerrero Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Art Platform, Los Angeles, LA Mart, Los Angeles, CA

Pulse Art Fair, Richard Heller Gallery, Miami, FL
Post-it Show, Giant Robot, Los Angeles, CA
Select Survey, Wonder Bread Factory, San Diego, CA

Relocation (curated by Aaron Smith) Sloan Fine Art, New York, NY
Devil’s in the Details, Giant Robot, New York, NY
Tree Show, Giant Robot, San Francisco, CA

Destined to Rise (benefit show) Nucleus Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Line Weight, Nucleus Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Flaunt, Junc Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Selected Bibliography
Kristin Farr: “Who riding with a lizard man,” Juxtapoz issue 176, September
Andrew M. Goldstein: “8 Rising Stars to Watch at EXPO CHICAGO,”, September 19
David Pagel: “Ancient mythology meets the modern video game in David Jien’s ‘Exodus,’” LA Times, April 19
James Cartwright: “Superbly surreal new show from narrative wizard David Jien,”, April

Marc Valli and Ana Ibarra: “Walk the line,” Laurence King, October
Tunica Magazine, “Second issue,” August
Justin Blyth: “David Jien,” Iconograph Issue 2, January

Liv Siddall: “David Jien,”, March 15

David Pagel: “Journey into an epic Plight,” Los Angeles Times, September 22
Tracey Harnish: “David Jien at Richard Heller Gallery,” Huffington Post, September 29
“David Jien: The Plight of the Who,”, September 5
“David Jien’s ‘The Plight of the Who,’” Erratic Phenomena

“David Jien,” New American Paintings, Issue 91, December
“David Jien,” Beautiful/Decay, November 18
Jess Wheaton: “Now Featuring David Jien,” Little Paper Planes, April 18

Allison Gibson: Beautiful/Decay book, July


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