Joakim Ojanen: Year of the Dog - High Art That Makes You Smile
by Jody Zellen
Joakim Ojanen is a Swedish artist based in Stockholm. He spent the last few months working in the ceramic studio at Long Beach City College to create many of the pieces in his current exhibition,Year of the Dog. Ojanen has filled the gallery with these ceramic sculptures, as well as drawings, paintings and bronze castsó all of which depict quirky, cartoon-like, part-human/part animal figures. These works have an immediate appeal. They are simultaneously seductive, melancholic, comic and tragic.
This ambitious installation includes a freize of charcoal drawings, a suite of paintings, two bronzes and more than 33 ceramic sculptures that range in size from just a few inches to over 50 inches high. Upon entering the gallery, it is hard not to first gravitate toward a rectangular group of tables where sculptures including Octopus Ballin' On Home Stone with Little Guest (all works 2018) are situated. Octopus Ballin' features an octopus perched on a tall, dome shaped grayish stone. Its long tentacles dangle and one of them holds an orange basketball. The frowning octopus sports a hat and has long white tears streaming from finger-like eyes that extend from the creature's face.
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