Raised as the child of Cambodian immigrants in Los Angeles, Andrew Hem’s illustrative paintings bridge disparate aesthetic influences as well as cultural touchstones and sensibilities. Hem’s paintings typically highlight an individual within a group of figures, homing in on the one person who is often soberly staring out from the canvas.
Using a cool palette in which the colors do not quite match up with the real world, the artist creates somber moods in illusionistic spaces set at a remove from reality. Although his color scheme—with its supernatural rendering of the natural world—elicits comparisons to impressionism, Hem also echoes graffiti art based on his straightforward and illustrative rendering of figures and space, as well as allusions to street culture, art, and fashion. …..
Born during his parents’ flight from Cambodia in the wake of the Khmer Rouge genocide, Andrew Hem grew up poised in the balance between two cultures — the rural animistic society of his Khmer ancestors, and the dynamic urban arts of the tough Los Angeles neighborhood where his family eventually came to rest.
Fascinated by graffiti at an early age, he honed his skills with graphics and composition on the walls of the city before following a passion for figure drawing to a degree in illustration from Art Center College of Design. Working in gouache, oil and acrylic, he weaves atmospheric, richly textured narratives in a vivid palette of twilight blues enlivened by swaths of deep red and splashes of golden light. His haunting impressions of culture and landscape evoke the life of the spirit through the visionary manifestation of memories and dreams.
2006 B.F.A. Art Center College of Art and Design
2019 Fragmentz, Galerie Openspace, Paris, France
2016 Mountain full, Jonathan Levine Gallery, New York, NY
2015 believe it, Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2015 16 Bars, Spoke Art Fair/Thinkspace, New York, NY
2014 Dream but dont sleep, Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2011 Cold Waters, Lebasse Projects Gallery, Culver City, CA
2010 One Leads to Another, Lebasse Projects Gallery, Culver City, CA
2009 Culture Clash, Roq La Rue Gallery, Seattle, WA
2007 Brighter Days, Thinkspace Gallery, Silverlake, CA
Super Awesome, Public Installation for Oakland Museum, CA
Go with the Flow, Villa Bottini Lucca, Italy
Sur-Realism, Arcadia Gallery, New York, NY
Death and the Maiden, Roq La Rue Gallery, Seattle, WA
Wild at Heart, Thinkspace Gallery, Culver City, CA
Sugipop, Portsmouth Museum of Art, Portsmouth, NH
Annual Aummer Invitational Show, Jonathan Levine Gallery, New York, NY
5 Year Anniversary Show, Thinkspace Gallery, Culver City, CA
Common Descent, 111 Minna Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Illustrative 08, Johanssen Gallery, Zurich
10th Year Anniversary, Roq La Rue Gallery, Seattle, WA
Miami Art Basel, Thinkspace Gallery, FL
Rapture vs. Rupture, Receiver Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Literacy, Corey Helford Gallery, Culver City, CA
Nice to Meet You, Tag Art Gallery, Nashville, TN
Picks of the Harvest 4, Thinkspace Gallery, Silverlake, CA