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Tim Biskup's "Ether" in Culver City

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Last Wednesday’s show at the Billy Shire Gallery in Culver City had all the elements needed for a typical Los Angeles VIP event – work by a world renowned artist (Tim Biskup), a celebrity host (JJ Abrams), sponsorship from two hip brands (Vanity Fair and Helio), and a roster of guests most people only read about in the usual arts & culture magazines (Matt Groening, Mark Ryden, Adele Mildred, and Shepard Fairey, among others).

The solo show, titled “Ether,” features new work by LA-based, globally celebrated artist Tim Biskup. Generally known for his paintings and sculptures depicting animated creatures and surreal cyborgs, the new series shows a sense of maturity and seriousness unknown in his previous work. While the change from a usual colorful, psychedelic pop vibe to a dark, moody, and visceral tone is abrupt, the new style still works beautifully. His latest paintings feature dark imagery of skulls and suffering waif-like women – although a giant sculpture of a cartoonish orange dragon placed in the center of the gallery does manage to lighten the mood.

Interesting to note, Wednesday’s event was another ingredient in Helio’s successful marketing campaign obviously targeting young, ultra-hip tastemakers. Helio, one of the two event sponsors, is partnered with Myspace, and is also a main sponsor of Indie 103.1. Copies of “Helio Mag” were handed out to attendees of the Wednesday's show, with articles and advertisements featuring indie darling Maggie Gyllenhaal, filmmaker Terry Gilliam, electro-outfit CSS, and LA's very own, Mark The Cobrasnake. Going hand in hand with the sponsorship is Biskup's recently completed mural for Helio’s new Ocean line, which can be seen 616 N. La Brea.

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Tim Biskup’s “Ether” can be seen until July 7th at Billy Shire Fine Arts, 5790 Washington Blvd., Culver City.

Watch the time-lapsed video of Tim painting the Helio mural after the jump.