Eamon O'Kane: Biorealism

Sep 16 - Oct 28, 2023
I see a role for art to probe architecture, design and planning, to re-evaluate the past, and to begin to construct and re-imagine a possible future.

Eamon O’Kane: Biorealism features  the largest presentation to date in Los Angeles of the architecturally inspired paintings by this Irish born artist and educator who works and lives in Odense, Denmark. Fostering dialogues about Modern architectures' legacy, domesticity, climate change, and the role of memory in painting, the exhibition is the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery that has long explored the increasingly porous and intertangled boundaries of architecture, design, and art. 


Calling attention to the geographical context of Southern California which has long inspired the O’Kane’s ongoing series called, Ideal Homes, the exhibition presents new medium and large format paintings that depict a selection of the celebrated Mid-Century architecture of Los Angeles and Palm Springs set in the dynamically changing natural and manufactured landscapes of the region. The exhibition will include paintings that depict homes and buildings by A. Quincy Jones, William Krisel, and Richard Neutra among others. 


O’Kane depicts the enduring appeal of these much-loved architectural icons that were originally planned and built to foster harmonic relationships between design, domesticity, shelter, and nature with the aim of nurturing and educating the inhabitants of a modern world. 


The title of the exhibition itself is a direct reference to philosophy of Modernist architect Richard Neutra who coined the term “biorealism” in his groundbreaking treatise, Survival By Design (1954) and was intended to inscribe “the inherent and inseparable relationship between man and nature.” Neutra joined the Greek word bios, meaning life, and realism as he believed that architecture took its’ cue from how humans behave and evolve, and his imperative that art and architecture must address the senses. O’Kane sees this concept as an informative way of describing his painting agenda and artwork in general. At once fanciful, atmospheric, and theoretical, the artist looks to reveal an emotional character in his paintings that emerges from the buildings themselves and their settings.


Frequently selecting source materials for his ongoing series paintings from his research of the architectural magazines of the post-war era which feature photographs by Julius Shulman and others, O’Kane was inspired to make a pilgrimage to Southern California last year to visit many of these sites in person. In contrast to the historical photographs that conjured an idealized life of architectural flawlessness, the artist was confronted with the shifts that both time and climate have brought about and began to consider more purposefully our desires and fears in the creation of his newest visceral and evocative paintings. Reimagining the paradisaical perfection of these structures, O’Kane uses abstract flat planes of bright saturated colors and to dislocate the structures from their surrounding landscape which are sometimes inundated by flood and sometimes engulfed in the acrid smoke of uncontrolled wildland fire, and other current day environmental effects.


For O’Kane, his experience called to mind a passage written by Richard Neutra more than seventy-five years ago, “The universe of which we are a part is a dynamic continuum. It extends from the most distant galactic systems into our atmosphere, biosphere, and terrestrial mantle, wafting even deeper into an energetic array of molecular and subatomic events that configure all matter, motion, and mind. Our skin is a membrane, not a barricade.... The most remote contours of the cosmos are not just 'out there somewhere' but causally interlaced with the nearest and deepest folds of our interior landscape.”


Biorealism sets the stage as a means for experiencing Eamon O’Kane’s ongoing development of his internationally exhibited practice in a new and site-specific way. The exhibition will be presented in two concurrent parts with a portion of the exhibition presented in the neutral “white box” space of the Edward Cella Gallery in Inglewood and the other at the Thomas Lavin Showroom at the Pacific Design Center which will juxtapose the painting within the context of collections of contemporary design and furnishings on view that evoke the present interiors of the homes depicted in the paintings themselves. In this way, those who choose to view the paintings in both configurations are invited to consider the works in two states: from outside looking in and from the perspective of the individuals who live in domestic interiors of the homes today. Additionally, the two-part nature of the exhibition extends and expands the multi-year collaboration between Edward Cella Gallery and the Thomas Lavin Showroom in bringing together the best of art and design and fostering an informed dialogue between these disciplines.


The artist’s exhibitions in Los Angeles will run concurrently with Anarchive at the Source Arts Center, Thurles, Ireland and an exhibition co-curated by the artist at the Worth Ryder Gallery at U.C. Berkeley entitled Transformations and Disruptions: The Challenges and Opportunities of AI for Human Creativity and follow the closing of his most recent exhibitions The Nature of Things at Galerie Andres Thalmann in Paris, France; Forest at Norske Grafikere Galleri, Oslo, Norway and Fluid Spaces at Høyersten Contemporary, Bergen, Norway. O'Kane's work was previously exhibited in Los Angeles in It's about Time, Ben Malz Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design in 2011. Each of these projects offer insights into the interdisciplinary and multifaceted practice of the artist that span paintings, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, and photography along with installation and video.


The exhibition is supported in part by a contribution from Culture Ireland and the Consulate General of Ireland, Los Angeles.


Installation Views
Press release

EAMON O’KANE: Biorealism

An Exhibition in Two Parts
Part I
Edward Cella Art+Architecture @
Himalaya Club
1109 N. La Brea Ave.
Inglewood, CA 90302
Saturday, September 16, 2023 | Noon to 6 PM
Illustrated Lecture by Eamon O'Kane
Book Signing and RECEPTION BRUnCH
Saturday, October 14 | 11 am to 1 PM


On View Saturday, September 16 – October 28, 2023
Thursday through Saturday | 11 am to 5 pm
And by appointment
Part II
ECAA @ Thomas Lavin Showroom
8687 Melrose Ave, Suite B310
West Hollywood, CA 90069
On View Monday, September 18 – November 3
Monday through Friday |10 am to 5 pm