Bondo Wyszpolski

Drica Lobo’s vibrant artwork at ShockBoxx

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Drica Lobo. Photo by Bondo Wyszpolski

Be Here Now

Drica Lobo’s ShockBoxx show is about connection, and being in the moment

by Bondo Wyszpolski

Drica Lobo celebrated her birthday last Saturday evening by hosting the virtual opening of “Decoding the Flow,” up through Sept. 12 at ShockBoxx in Hermosa Beach. The exhibition is like a big candy box with its vibrant paintings, tempered by several rhythmic black and white drawings, a sculpture or two, and a small room in the back of the gallery that will indulge your five senses. If it isn’t clear already, this show should (and can) be seen in person.

Drica Lobo. Photo by Bondo Wyszpolski

“Decoding the Flow,” Drica says, “is about showing that we’re all connected as one. In a time where we have never been so separated yet together, this exhibition highlights the energy and frequencies between all things.”

The connection occurs, she adds, when mind and body are in sync and working together. Perhaps what it comes down to is being present in the moment, so that outside distractions stay outside. Getting in tune and being at one with the universe within and without.

Gallery owner Michael Collins explains why he’s been a fan of Drica’s work: “She has such a recognizable style. It was actually a piece that you inspired (‘Martian’s to the Left, Humans to the Right’) that initiated the conversation with Drica that set the ball rolling toward this solo show. Her typical palette is so powerful, that when viewing her black and white piece, I could sense my brain and memory adding her colors to the piece. That’s when this show was born. That’s one of the aspects of what we try and promote at ShockBoxx: Artists taking risks and trying something new. Drica has nailed that mission with this show.”

Changing with the times

Drica Lobo is originally from São Paulo, Brazil, but has been living on Hermosa Avenue, one block from the ocean (which she can hear from her bedroom) for the past 16 years. Some might even suggest that she’s now a local girl with tropical roots. And this is often what one feels or senses in her paintings, many of them awash with waves of color depicting local landmarks, the pier, lifeguard towers, the strand, the big bright moon, and of course the ocean.

Atomic energy!

At the same time, Drica has been exploring new styles, new combinations of color or lack thereof: For many admirers, her black and white works come as a surprise. In person, however, one can’t help but note her exuberance, which is also a hallmark of her work. She points out that the expression of who we are as individuals emerges in what we create.

An opening “reception” without people is a temporary drawback, but this one, via Zoom, had its special moments:

“I had the opportunity for the first time to have my family participating,” Drica says, “and actually getting to know what I do,” because in the past they’ve only had post-event photos to look through. With a translator alongside her to convey in Portuguese what Drica was saying in English, the bi-lingual gallery tour and discussion was able to span at least two continents and two cultures at the same time.

Going forward, a Zoom opening is likely to complement most or all in-person opening receptions. Why? “You’re never really able to listen to an artist talk at a regular opening,” Drica says, “because it’s busy and everybody wants to speak with the artist. With Zoom, it’s focused on what I have to say about the show.”

Michael Collins agrees: “Since the beginning of quarantine and the restrictions, we have hosted three solo shows and three group shows. While we miss seeing everybody in person, virtual attendance is as good if not better than pre-quarantine, and we have been able to expand our relationship with artists and patrons all across the country. The addition of Zoom openings is something that will continue even when we can return to typical openings.”

“Decoding the Flow” installation view, courtesy of the artist

Step into her world

“Decoding the Flow” was appealing installed by Drica with the help of her good friend Sommer Mark, who is known for her interior makeovers. The show, like its title, undulates across the walls of the gallery. And this brings us to the installation in the little room at the far end.

I mentioned that it’s a treat for the five senses, which in case you’ve forgotten means touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight. How has Drica achieved this?

Gumballs. Take one of these and immerse yourself in Drica’s art

We see the work around us after we step into the room. There’s soft music, there’s a pleasant lavender smell, we can reach out and pinch the little pom-poms, but taste? We’re given a little gumball before we go inside, and its sweetness adds delightfully to the experience.

And what is that experience? It’s as if we’ve stepped inside of one of Drica’s colorful artworks. “That was the whole idea,” she says, explaining why she put in the pom-poms, the waves, and the little hot air balloons. If she’d also installed a couch or two I’m sure that many of her guests would lie down, daydream, and not want to leave.

Decoding the Flow is up through Sept. 12 at ShockBoxx, 636 Cypress Ave, Hermosa Beach. Appointments can be scheduled online by contacting the artist: DricaLobo.com or @dricaloboart. Coming soon to the gallery: “Sword Fight,” a group show with Dennis Dugan, Preston M. Smith, Jack George, Mike Collins, Paul Roustan, Dylan Lombardo, and Scott Meskill. It runs from Sept. 19 to Oct. 3. To learn more: @shockbox.project or Shockboxxproject.com. ER

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