A realistic painting of a man with a shaved head and glasses sitting in a restaurant. He's sitting on a wall of upholstered benches that are black with red stripes staggered along the top of the backrest. The tables are small with a red tabletop. The man looks to the side with a calm expression. The lower half of the wall behind him is red, the top half is beige. There is a mirror on the wall to the right of the painting reflecting the street scene outside.

Jiab Prachakul: 14 Years

Friends Indeed Gallery is pleased to present the first U.S. solo exhibition for Thai-artist Jiab Prachakul. Prachakul was born in Nakhon Phanom, a small town on the Mekong River in northeast Thailand. She studied filmography at Thammasat University before working as a casting director at a Bangkok production company. In 2006, she relocated to London and became inspired to paint after seeing a David Hockney retrospective. Shortly thereafter, she moved to Berlin. In a city known for its bohemian community of artists, Prachakul continued to pursue an entirely self-taught practice, making portraits of her flock of friends, many of whom were involved with fashion, film, and the visual arts.

For her show with Friends Indeed, Prachakul presents a significant new body of work exploring the nuances of Asian diasporic representation through a series of intimate portraits. The artist says:

Our identity is dictated to us from the moment we are born, but as we grow up, identity is what we actually choose to be. I do believe that our circle of friends is what makes us who we are. We are all outsiders, Asian artists living abroad, and their deep friendship has offered me a ground on where I can stand and embrace my own identity.

A keen observer, Prachakul approaches the complexity of identity and authenticity through the genre of figurative painting. Pop cultural depictions of Asian Americans are historically monotropic—often casting characters in secondary roles as perpetual foreigners, villainous adversaries, or meek members of the model minority. In contrast, Prachakul’s subjects are always leading figures, manifesting a vast range of personalities and emotional registers. An exuberant young girl in costume. A stylish couple with cool removal. A mired and moody youth. Her story-driven subjects play a social and psychological role, reimagining the traditional framework of portraiture as a space to rewrite staid narratives and representational tropes. Sometimes a single figure is presented humbly against an abstract field of color and other times, they are surrounded by the intricacies of a dense, domestic backdrop. In each interpretation, Prachakul’s colorful and dynamic compositions dis- play a delicate attention to detail. Her paintings convey both an immediacy and depth that cast her subjects in a humanizing and intimate light rather than perpetuate their status as Other. There is a general sense of culture, taste, and intellect —a refined internationalism not typically displayed in American genres.

An accompanying exhibition catalogue will feature an essay by Xiaoyu Weng, Associate Curator at the Guggenheim Museum, New York and curator of the 5th Ural Biennale for Contemporary Art, and an interview between the Artist and filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul.


An abstract painting with evocative, chaotic brushstrokes. The main colors are a dark periwinkle, yellow, red-orange, lime green, black, and white.

Carlos Villa: Infinite Self

Friends Indeed Gallery is pleased to present Carlos Villa: Infinite Self a selection of drawing, painting and sculpture by the beloved late San Francisco artist.

A native San Franciscan, Carlos Villa (1936-2013) was an artist and educator whose legacy was immeasurable. His works from the 1970s and 80s deftly reject the ethnographic terms historically ascribed to non-Western art. Combining repetitive action, performance, and activism, his abstract assemblages are visually dramatic expressions of Filipino-American identity.

For nearly fifty years Carlos Villa has explored the meaning of cultural diversity in his art and in doing so has expanded our awareness of what we consider as “multicultural.” What began in his early career as an attempt to understand his own heritage–a complexity of Filipino traditions with its layered strains of Asian, African, Indian and Oceanic cultures, along with influences of a Western artistic tradition–became over time an exercise in creating his own visual anthropology to represent his personal background, and, in a broader sense, the dynamics of intercultural weaving. —Preston Fletcher

Villa’s work is in the permanent collections of SFMOMA, Oakland Museum of California, Columbia University, the Smithsonian, and the Whitney Museum, among many other public and private collections. His work was recently featured in the 2019-2020 Singapore Biennale, and will be included in the next Prospect Biennale in New Orleans. Villa has been included in important exhibitions and surveys such as the first Whitney Biennial (1973), ‘Painting and Sculpture in the Modern Era’ (1976), ‘Under the Black Sun: California Art 1974–1981’ (2012) and the Bienal de la Habana (1991). In August 2021, VIlla’s work will be the subject of a major retrospective. The traveling exhibition is organized by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. The catalog will feature essays by renowned scholars including Lucy Lippard, Margo Machida, Paul Karlstrom, Theo Gonzalves, Luis Francia, Patrick Flores, and Jay Xu; and is funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

On January 27th, 2021, Friends Indeed is pleased to host a talk by Aleesa Alexander, co-Director of the Asian American Art Initiative and Curator of American Art at the Cantor Center for the Arts, Stanford University; Patrick Flores, Director of the Philippine Contemporary Art Network and Artistic Director of the 2019 Singapore Biennale; and Philip Tinari, Director, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing on the legacy of Bay Area artist Carlos Villa (1936-2013). The artist has an exhibition on view at Friends Indeed (Chinatown) from January 14 – March 19, 2021. Villa will have a career-retrospective in August 2021 at the Asian Art Museum. Asia Society Northern California is our promotional partner for this event.

Special thanks to Mark Johnson, Mary Valledor, and Sherwin Rio.



A series of concentric, three-dimensional diamond arranged within a frame. The overlapping shapes are variously colored to create a prism or kaleidoscope effect. The colors are dark teal, butter yellow, lilac, black, orange, and mauve.

Karen Carson: Middle Ground

GAVLAK Los Angeles is pleased to present Karen Carson: Middle Ground, the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery running from January 9 through March 6, 2021. Centered around her current bas relief works and her early “zipper” series, both bodies of work deploy geometric configurations to explore the convergence of gender, nature and the material world. The exhibition’s title refers to the interplay between these two series; both operate as key historical markers that speak to Carson’s artistic importance for the past five decades, creating work with an expansive visual language that has engaged contemporary issues and political culture in myriad ways.

“It’s an immense pleasure to work with an artist who engages with materiality in such a multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary way,” said owner Sarah Gavlak. “The gallery’s mission since its founding has always been devoted to supporting under-represented voices. As a staple in the Los Angeles art scene since the 1970s, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce Karen’s prolific output and unique practice to audiences beyond the West Coast.”

Karen Carson: Middle Ground is situated amongst an integral art historical conversation around minimalism. Carson’s rich legacy began in the early 1970s when artists such as Lynda Benglis, Dan Flavin and Donald Judd became prominent names in the minimalist movement, which sought to explore the dialogues between representation, abstraction, agency and aesthetic judgment. Additionally, Carson’s work engages with the art historical legacy of Georgia O’Keeffe, as both artists found visceral inspiration in the natural phenomenon of the American West, seeking to articulate the endless expanse of the unknown.

Visually and conceptually,  Carson’s bas relief series revolves around the artist’s recent use of acrylic paint on wood, a body of work emerging from a summer spent in her Montana studio following an extended period of experimentation. Rich natural elements–mountain ranges and pine trees–appear to produce a close relation with the luminous, exterior environments.  Intricately and individually, Carson incorporates these elements into her work. Nature influences her color palette and provides a stark sense of contrast throughout the series, giving us the illusion that they are illuminated from within, glowing like a fluorescent tube. All the wood is cut by Carson herself with a manual saw and chop saw, laid beforehand and then mounted onto a panel. The wood is then laid, glued and ultimately painted once the assemblage is completed. Each work becomes unique through this intricate process that blends the human hand with organic material.

Further into the exhibition are works from Carson’s 1970s “zipper” series, which initiate a dialogue around male-domination of the minimalist movement, objecthood and raw materials such as steel and concrete. Inspired by childhood camping trips, Carson makes reference to a tent’s triangular shapes and zipper openings. By sewing each of the works herself, the artist creates elaborate geometric wall works that are conditioned and textured by a patient, repetitive act of female labor. The components of “zipper” are interactive; viewers can pull the zippers themselves, creating new arrangements that complicate the origin of the work. This allows for an almost infinite number of combinations among canvases, creating a relational dimension. There is an implied seduction, as the act of unzipping launches each work into the sensory realm.


Karen Carson was born in Corvallis, OR, received her B.A. in 1966 from the University of Oregon and her M.F.A. from UCLA in 1971. In 1994 she was an artist in residence at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She began exhibiting in 1969 at the Atheneum Gallery, CalTech, Pasadena and Cirrus Gallery in 1973-1977. She first exhibited at Rosamund Felsen Gallery in 1979 and continues to the present. A 25 Year Survey of her paintings was held at the Santa Monica Museum of Art in 1996. She has exhibited at the Pomona College Museum of Art’s Project Series; an exhibition, “Movers and Shapers: Combines, Tractors and Swathers by Karen Carson,” at Oklahoma State University Museum of Art, Stillwater; and “Canvas Constructions: Karen Carson and Allan McCollum,” Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle. Her work has appeared in group exhibitions at San Diego Museum of Fine Arts; San Francisco Museum of Art; Pasadena Art Museum; The Art Institute of Chicago; Lang Art Gallery, Scripps College, Claremont, CA; La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art; Newport Harbor Art Museum; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Fort Worth Art Museum; Brooke Alexander, NY; McNay Institute, San Antonio; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Fisher Gallery, USC; Sezon Museum of Art, Tokyo and Tsukashin Hall, Osaka; Bill Maynes Gallery, NY; Museum of American Art of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Neue Galerie, Graz, Austria and numerous others.


Gavlak Gallery was pleased to announce representation of the artist in November 2020.


An installation image of art in a gallery with white walls and shiny concrete floor. In the center of the room there is a mound of earth covered in patchy mosses, with two small, embracing brass figure on the top. On the walls hang three large paintings of landscapes with creatures and figures in them, all rendered with a playful and surreal style.

Kate Klingbeil: Grown Woman

Steve Turner is pleased to present Grown Woman, a solo exhibition by Milwaukee-based Kate Klingbeil which features new anthropomorphic paintings and sculptures that she created upon her return to Wisconsin after the onset of Covid. Her paintings depict fantastical underground landscapes and complex ecosystems that draw upon her upbringing in the rural Midwest and which represent the dark side of her mind. She has an idiosyncratic painting process that involves the construction of painted passages on plastic that she later removes and affixes to her complicated compositions of above and below ground landscapes. The layering of these painted elements yields deeply textured, sculptural paintings. Grown Woman also introduces a new aspect of Klingbeil’s practice–cast brass and iron sculpture–that she made during her recent residency in the Arts/Industry program at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin. They depict many of the same root characters that are in her paintings, but in casting molten metals, Klingbeil gets even closer to the underground world that is at the core of her practice.

Klingbeil (born 1990, Grosse Pointe, Michigan) received a BFA at California College of the Arts (2012). She had a solo exhibition at SPRING/BREAK, New York with Field Projects (2020); a two-person show with Rebecca Ness at Monya Rowe, New York (2019) and has been in group exhibitions at Steve Turner, Los Angeles (2020); Nevven Gallery, Gothenburg (2019); Andrew Edlin, New York (2019); Paul Kasmin, New York (2018) and Andrew Rafacz, Chicago (2017). This is her first solo exhibition at Steve Turner.

Two paintings hanging on a white wall. The painting on the left is square and features a side profile portrait of a man with brown skin a, black hair, and a black mustache, looking to the right on a blue background. The words "Will E Mays" hover the man's large nose. The paining on the right is rectangular, and features a man in profile, facing left, with darker brown skin, black hair, and a black mustache on a deep blue background, wearing a lime green shirt.

Billy White

Adams and Ollman is pleased to present a solo exhibition of paintings by Billy White (b. 1962, lives in Hercules, California, and works in Richmond, California). Marking the artist’s first solo exhibition on the West Coast, the show will feature a selection of his expressive portraits made between 2016 and 2019. The exhibition is on view January 9 through February 6, 2021.

With graphic marks and emphatic colors, White conjures portraits that are celebratory and personal. Muscular and energetic brushstrokes coalesce to form complex images that are more emotional than representational. White’s subjects include his family and himself, as well as iconic figures from the worlds of film, television, music, sports, and art history. Captured in profile and at the front of the picture plane, each figure appears isolated, their likeness distilled to essential elements and forms assembled with bold lines and gestures. Often with unexpected shifts in perspective, the resulting works are psychologically-charged depictions of the human form.
Since 1994, Billy White has worked at Nurturing Independence Through Artistic Development (NIAD), a progressive art studio in Richmond, California, that supports the careers of artists with disabilities.


A close-up photograph of a small rectangular box with two eye wholes. The exterior of the box is painted with swaths of green, brown, blue, grey, and yellow paint. The inside of the box, visible through the holes has a small video screen. The moment caught in this photograph shows a person in all black bending over with arms outstretched, as though bowing.

Like Apples and Knives: Estefania Velez Rodriguez & Michael Siporin Levine

Like Apples and Knives uses painting, drawing, collage, printmaking, and video to explore autobiography, abstraction, and narrative—three themes that are inherent to Estefania Velez Rodriguez and Michael Siporin Levine’s artistic process. In this exhibition the artists created personal work that is in direct response to their everyday life, as they consider the changes brought about by the global pandemic. Painting is a device: one that can hinge, move, activate, sing, task, travel, negotiate, and change. Painting is an object that can enact change, just as a knife cuts. Both artists’ approach to video-making, specifically the ‘thing-ness’ of the physical object and process of making, are immediately seen with the artist’s hands showing in the finished works. Whether it’s jumping at the opportunity to work out of her friend’s studio in Mexico City, or creating a stop-motion animation in his girlfriend’s kitchen window, both artists trusted their intuition as they adapted to a new routine.

Working across mediums, we see a relationship between how Estefania and Michael mix abstraction with observation, through their experimental approach to process, interest in formal composition, use of humor, and each artists’ personal introspection into memory and daily experiences. Both artists’ approach to video-making, specifically the ‘thing-ness’ of the physical object and process of making, are seen through the evidence of the artists’ hand in the finished piece.

In Like Apples and Knives, Michael will present new work including a large-scale work on paper, several smaller scale monoprints, and two recent animations. Imagery in his new body of work includes references to observations on his daily bike commute through Manhattan, park scenes, construction workers, home gyms, and cooking utensils. In his animation KITCHEN, he explores aspects of his daily life in the beginning part of the NYC lockdown through facetime conversations between himself and his girlfriend, the NY Dept. of Labor’s answering machine, and his mom explaining her matzo ball soup recipe.

Estefania Velez Rodriguez includes videos embedded into painting boxes which insulates the viewer into the confined world of the moving image. The videos are created with elements of painting and drawing activated by time, and oral language. Abstracted language, slang, and multiple tongues are explored in the videos as the artist processes life’s inputs through translation. In her video Salta Monte, meaning grasshopper in Spanish, but references transcending obstacles, she quietly chants in multiple languages about moving mountains while pushing painting through an unidentified space. Estefania utilizes cut out paintings and collages to further process notions of isolation, and cultural context of islands, which also isolate societies from larger transitory spaces.

Estefania and Michael met in 2017 while working as artist assistants for the New York based painter, Emily Mason. As Michael and Estefania worked together in Emily’s studio, they shared videos and images of recent work, and both felt a connection to each other’s artistic process– specifically the way they incorporate humor, identity, and performative elements in their paintings, prints, animations, installations, and videos.



A painting of a lounging nude woman on the backs of other canvas paintings aligned into a grid. The woman is depicted reclined on a chaise longe, propped up on pillows, with a small dog at her feet. The woman wears a mask made of collaged brain scans, and has the white and red cane often used by blind or visually impaired people at her side.

Love Letter to Katherine Sherwood

Katherine Sherwood, Blind Venus (For G), 2018. Acrylic and mixed media on recycled linen.
90 x 114 inches. Courtesy the artist.

I was introduced to Kathryn Sherwood’s work by my friend, the painter Sarah Cain, early last year when I told her about my recent struggles with chronic illness and how I had turned to disabled artists to help me make meaning of it. She urged me to look at Sherwood’s paintings. What I found there were images that felt simultaneously disruptive and generous, offering intimate attention to lives frequently neglected.

In the series Venuses of the Yelling Clinic, Sherwood bases her works on paintings of women that loom large in the art historical canon. While her paintings refer to reclining nudes by the likes of Ingres, Manet, and Titian, Sherwood pointedly departs from these vaunted depictions in one significant way: her subjects all have disabilities. They wear prosthetic limbs or braces, and some have a mobility aid within reach. The women’s heads take on a more startling and surreal difference, as their faces are collaged from detailed images of brain scans. They are, in fact, images of the artist’s own brain. In 1997, Sherwood experienced a cerebral hemorrhage that left her with paralysis of the right side of her body.

“Love letter” is the perfect term for what I want to write to Sherwood. Love, when it’s at its best, is transformative. It cultivates connection and care, giving us a tool for settling deeper into ourselves and often changing our conceptions of self for the better. While people with disabilities must navigate a world bereft of care for them, Sherwood offers a place for those with disabilities to gather, to commune, to see themselves represented with care. These disabled women occupy their own canon, and in the act of asserting their embodiment, work to reconstruct the larger cultural conversation around disability into one of love.

A detail of a larger artwork filled with three-dimensional layers of intricately detailed paper cut outs made to look like different varieties of coral. The individual paper corals range in color from white to pale blues, purples, yellows, greens, and reds.

Process: Catherine Howe, Andrew Casto, Rogan Brown, Shahla Friberg

Process features works focusing on the process of making. In each work, the artist’s hand is clearly present and celebrated.


Shahla Friberg’s faceted creations are conceived and formed through a meditative, organic process. She cuts varied pieces of glass into shards, some mirrored, others colored, ultimately connecting them to one another at differing angles using molten solder and copper foil, similar to a traditional stained glass technique. Imagining rigid materials, like metal and glass, finally assembled into something gracefully fluid seems counterintuitive to the inherent properties of these materials, however, Friberg’s comfort with her unyielding medium renders the outcome as effortless as her process.

Catherine Howe insists that her paintings, which appear to reference 17th-century still life paintings, are not about representation or narrative; rather, she says they are exercises in the evocative power of painting as a material. What appear to be flora, figures, and foods dissolve into abstract flurries of brush marks and fields of commingled colors when observed closely. The painted surfaces vary widely in paint application, with some areas thinly glazed or quickly sketched, and others so thick they appear to be in relief. Howe’s palette is known to be strong and vibrant, though not without eerie contrasts; her technique includes splatters, spills, and the scraping away of paint. American, based in New York, New York.

“My work involves an investigation into extant negative forces in our lives, and to what degree the phenomenological ramifications of stress shape us physically, mentally, and emotionally. The formal language present in this analysis is based on a material study of geologic processes translated into ceramic and mixed media objects, often referencing historical vessel form. I seek a purposeful link between macrocosmic environmental change, and interruptions in our otherwise routine existence.  

The foundation of this exploration is a desire to uncover the sublime in these moments of incongruity; the rush of presence into experience that might otherwise remain banal and ordinary, brought on by perceived inconvenience. My work asserts that it is possible for our daily vexations to illuminate the power of the present moment – something we all too often fail to notice.” Andrew Casto

Rogan Brown’s work is inspired by the hidden worlds modern science reveals to us, whether it’s the intricacy of microscopic cellular structures, the mesmerizing diversity of the bacterial realm or the surreal beauty of nature at the quantum scale.

Paper embodies the paradoxical qualities that we see in nature: its fragility and durability, its strength and delicacy. Paper cutting as a traditional folk art form is characterized by its accessibility and simplicity and Brown both exploit and subvert those qualities in the work he makes. His ultimate aim is to remind us of the sublime beauty and strangeness of the natural world that surrounds us but which is hidden from our eyes.



An abstract landscape painting with thick brushstrokes describing overlapping, rolling hills. The artist used ochre, pale pink, moss green, Kelly green, taupe, and vermillion for the different hills, with geometric highlights in white and pale yellow. Light blue hovers over the horizon, fading upward into pale yellow.

Love Letter to Bernice Bing

Bernice Bing, Mayacamas No. 6, March 12 1963, 1963.

One of my favorite aspects of the strict stay-at-home orders of March and April was the way that my Instagram feed became a portal into the inner lives of my friends. I spent hours looking at others reading, cooking, drawing, and lying in bed, seeing aspects of their creative and domestic lives that otherwise I would have never come to know.

The work of Bernice Bing (1936–1998) has the same effect on me. I think I can say I fell in love with her at first photograph: Bing on her stomach on a paint-splattered wood floor, legs crossed like she rolled into place accidentally, staring firmly at the camera, as though she was as curious about me as I about her.

But even more, it is Bing’s practically-forgotten, calligraphy-inflected West Coast abstract expressionism that captivates me. A Chinese-American lesbian, she defies abstract expressionism’s aesthetic white-hetero-male-ness, its pretense of representing the psyche stripped of context, by simple virtue of her biography. Bing makes abstraction a tool to interrogate philosophies of the mind and the self, ideas of interior and exterior, Chinese and US culture. At the same time, she breaks down the very duality of abstraction and realism. As her thick brushstrokes become ideograms—figures that mean something only after they generate an aesthetic response—she creates a new way of representing northern California, one in which the landscape opens up the inner worlds to which abstraction aims. “I am attempting to create a new synthesis with a very old world,” she said.

Bernice Bing’s work is what abstraction looks like when it is home alone, cozy, with no one watching.

A diptych of rectangular, portrait orientation paintings. Each painting is a features a loose grid, with some of the grid's cells either cut out of the canvas leaving a void or layered over other cells. The individual cells are painted with a combination of gestural, grasslike lines, grids and checkerboards in various colors, and photographs collaged on a black paint background.

Modou Dieng: A Postcolonial Landscape

Exhibition Tour + Conversation with Modou Dieng & Mack McFarland
Livestream via Facebook Live and YouTube >
Thursday, December 3, 2020, 5:30 – 6:30 pm

Elizabeth Leach Gallery is pleased to present A Postcolonial Landscape by Modou Dieng, featuring paintings that explore themes of Black representation and erasure in a globalized society. Dieng reimagines his own experience through dazzling, idiosyncratic mixed media artworks that engage in dialogue with personal narratives and Eurocentric art history.

The title of the new series alludes to a symbolic location of physical sites and psychological states, an accumulation of Dieng’s experiences beginning in his native Senegal to present day life in the United States. Pictures of anthropological African masks, people and places, as well as his own photographs, are layered onto the paintings, combinations that reiterate themes of identity, location, and the hand of the artist. Dieng’s brightly colored architectural facades resonate with strength and vulnerability, adorned with stacked windows or undulating, multi-tiered archways that invite the viewer inside the picture frame’s imagined interior realm.

Dieng incorporates representational and abstract modes of expression in this recent body of work, and in several large-scale paintings, cut-outs reveal exposed, hand-painted stretcher bars that signify the absence of Blackness in the history of painting. Every work contains exuberant lines and brushstrokes that express the artist’s intuitive style of mark-making and prismatic color palette through grids, zig-zags, circular loops, and geometric shapes.

Modou Dieng was born in Saint-Louis, Senegal. He is a multidisciplinary artist exploring the symbolic and mythological power of pop culture through mixed media and hybrid materials. His work constructs a mural of archetypal cultural imagery filtered through the perspective of a split identity between Blackness and Western Philosophy. Dieng has exhibited internationally and is the co-founder of Blackpuffin, a curatorial company based in Chicago, Illinois. Dieng holds an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute (San Francisco, CA).