The alternative universe of Joao Ruas is a strangely familiar one – like a tracing of our own laid back upon it, but slightly askew. The Brazilian has opened the doorway to his fantastical imagination in Verso (Back), a collection of ethereal beauty, symbolism, sex and magic which draws the viewer in like the gnarled and beckoning hand of a one-eyed old crone.
Ruas weaves together mythological elements from a wide-range of cultures, and in that weaving creates something recognisable and yet totally new. Shamanic figures haunt the landscape; nymphs drape themselves decoratively on noble tasseled horses. Many limbed temptresses and demigodesses pose with grotesque masks, birds of ominous portent preen on their perches, and all the while contemporary imagery keeps yanking the viewer back from where they have drifted, linking these past or imagined lives to our own. This excellent journey is yours to take at Thinkspace gallery in Culver City, California, in the form of 15 drawings and paintings, plus video presentations and behind-the-scenes material, from 1 February to 22 February.