The Art of the Grotesque at Copro Gallery

“Icon of Sin” by Christian Marchwinski

Located in Santa Monica, California, Copro Gallery showcases high-quality works by up-and-coming artists. This past weekend, I attended opening night of its latest exhibit, “Conjoined vs. Grotesque: Denizens of the Dark.” The event welcomed the public to enter a morbidly fascinating world created by some of the most talented individuals in the Dark Contemporary Art Movement, motion picture and music industries and beyond. I managed to capture countless photos, so, without further ado, here’s your look inside.

Opening night of
Opening night of “Conjoined vs. Grotesque” at the Copro Gallery

The exhibition was curated by artist Chet Zar and author and musician Jeremy Wagner. Both are extremely creative with an avid interest in the uncanny. “Conjoined vs. Grotesque” unites artists from all walks of life to lay bare the bizarre inner-workings of the mind through paintings, sculptures, drawings and mixed media pieces.

It was a packed house for the debut. There were food and coffee trucks, live music performed by horror punk band The Order of the Fly, as well as live body painting by Nix Body Art & FX. It was my first visit to the gallery, so I was excited not only to see the new exhibit, but to also explore the building.

Beetlejuice by El Mescalito
“Beetlejuice” by El Mescalito

Art work was sprawled across two rooms and practically every inch of wall and floor space was covered. The center piece of the larger room was “Beetlejuice” by El Mescalito. The Tim Burton character was donning his signature black and white pin-striped suit with an umbrella decorated with hanging eyeballs protruding from his head.

In this room was also a stunning piece called “GOD” by Ave Rose. This woman is renowned for the way she implements antiques, taxidermy, rare treasures and mechanical motion in her creations. The piece she contributed contained a still-born goat she sourced from The Glass Coffin, a vampire-themed oddities shop in Austin, Texas. It was encased in glass with $10,000 worth of shredded U.S. cash! Yes, you read that correctly. There was a handle attached to the exterior of the case that you could turn to see the beautiful creature in action. I suggest checking out her Instagram profile @averose13 for more details on how she brought this work to life. Her blood, sweat and tears literally went into this project.

Ryan Matthew Cohn of the Oddities Flea Market was another featured artist and contributed “Fig. 31” — a carefully crafted osteological piece of the skull. I was really looking forward to viewing this in the flesh after seeing him post his progress on his Instagram account. Meagan Meli, who formerly helped produce Oddities Flea Markets with Cohn, showed off her artistic skill with a piece entitled “In Ictu Oculi,” a Latin phrase meaning “in the blink of an eye.” The work included two conjoined skeletal figures, one holding an hour glass and the other a trio of wax candles. It was a marvel to look at the ornate detail and fine craftsmanship.

"Conjoined vs. Grotesque" art
“Conjoined vs. Grotesque” art
"Conjoined vs. Grotesque" art
“Conjoined vs. Grotesque” art
"Conjoined vs. Grotesque" art
“Conjoined vs. Grotesque” art

There were so many other provocative pieces that I will feature in the slideshow below. Also scroll down for a brief recording of the live body painting. I am thrilled I was able to experience opening night of this darkly magical art exhibition. It will be up until February 16th if any of you will be in the Los Angeles area and would like to check it out. Find more details at the Copro Gallery official website.

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