‘Travis Louie: Unusual Circumstances’ at Harman Projects




Travis Louis, Thought Fish, Framed. Image courtesy of Harlman Projects

Harman Projects is pleased to present Unusual Circumstances, a solo exhibition by Brooklyn-based artist Travis Louie. This will be the artist’s first solo presentation with the gallery, opening October 7th with Reception from 6-8pm.

Clad in the waistcoats and high neck bodices of a bygone era, Travis Louie’s human, animal and in-between subjects co-exist in an alternate past. Referencing Victorian and Edwardian-era clothing, utilizing vintage style picture framing, and skillfully mimicking in paint and graphite the aesthetic of early portrait photography processes, the artist creates a world that is familiar at first glance yet entirely foreign upon closer inspection.

Travis Louis, The Toad Hole Framed. Image courtesy of Harman Projects.

Louie’s surreal portrait-based practice is supplemented by the conception and documentation of elaborate and imaginative narratives written about each piece. In their own right, each image sparks a range of questions regarding the subject and their world, however the accompanying text helps guide the viewer on a more dynamic journey that provides a unique insight and begs even further inspection of the work.

Making subtle statements regarding prejudice and the immigrant experience, Louie hopes that the fear of “the other” can be replaced by a curiosity for the unknown and a respect for the unfamiliar. In Louie’s painting The Discovery of the Hand, (pictured above) a boy holds the giant severed hand of a man who was driven out of his town by angry villagers. The artist contemplates on mob mentality, quick to spread fear and violence, noting that if we were to stop to recognize the similarities we have with others outside of our communities the world would be a much kinder place.

Travis Louis, Antler Boy, framed. Image courtesy of Harman Projects.

Travis Louie: Unusual Circumstances will be on view from October 7 to October 28, 2023 at Harman Projects. There will be an Opening Reception on Saturday, October 7th from 6-8pm. Copies of the artist’s recent limited edition print, Miss Eunice and her Hat Gremlin, will be available at the gallery. Harman Projects is located at 210 Rivington Street, NYC.

ABOUT THE GALLERY ~ Harman Projects was founded in 2022 by curator and gallerist Ken Harman. Our goal is to provide an inclusive and welcoming environment to foster a community of likeminded artists, collectors, and art lovers in New York City and beyond. 

Our focus at Harman Projects lies mainly in the New Contemporary genre, encompassing historical movements such as New York City graffiti and SoCal pop- surrealism as well as contemporary schools of art such as Bay Area abstracted realism, international muralism and Japanese-inspired SuperFlat.

ABOUT THE ARTIST ~ Travis Louie’s paintings come from the tiny little drawings and many writings in his journals. He has created his own imaginary world that is grounded in Victorian and Edwardian times. It is inhabited by human oddities, mythical beings, and otherworldly characters who appear to have had their formal portraits taken to mark their existence. His work is about identity and remembrance, with a veiled commentary on racism and the immigrant experience. He would like the fear of “the other” to be replaced with a curiosity about the unknown and a sense of wonder regarding those things that are unfamiliar.