Sponsored by Red Eight Gallery
One of our hottest new discoveries for 2020 is the young rising star Cayla Birk who recently celebrated her first solo show in Los Angeles. Born in Florida to a single mother, Birk credits her love of travel and her eclectic childhood to her success as an artist and her diverse body of work.
Birk’s practice draws on a wide range of influences including writers, thinkers, and musicians such as Jack Kerouac, Ella Fitzgerald, and Chuck Palahniuk. Her signature style mixes traditional media like acrylic paints with more unusual materials to create a striking juxtaposition of bold gestures and provocative lettering. Birk’s quick mind and versatility shine through in her work with connections made from one project to another through recurring themes and concerns rather than aesthetic continuity.
“My artwork re-conceptualizes social and cultural subject matters”, explains Birk in her artist’s statement. “In my work, I allude to popular iconography, musical lyricism, and current verbal slang that pervade societal culture. Having engaged subjects as diverse as enlightened secret orders, hip-hop music and contemporary design, my work reproduces familiar visual signs, arranging them into new conceptually layered pieces.”
Birk’s “Periodic Table of Relevance” project is a prime example of how she revels in taking common, everyday symbols and breathing new meaning into their familiar forms. This series of canvases portrays the elements of the periodic table with a provocative twist; each letter abbreviation is given a false name and an alphanumeric cypher hidden in the atomic weight at the bottom of the canvas. For example, “Br” becomes “brunch” and “V” is named “versace”. The viewer is also invited to interact with each piece via a conical flask which reveals the secret meaning of each atomic weight.
Another related project is “Birktone” which plays on the familiar Pantone colour swatches. Each colour is linked to pop icon, famous figure, or concept such as “The Grass On The Other Side” for a bright shade of green. As with “Periodic Table of Relevance” the project allows the viewer to see something familiar in a new light and challenge their own preconceptions of the world around them.
Following her first solo show in Los Angeles last year, Cayla Birk’s artworks have received a significant uptick in interest from collectors around the globe. This is the ideal moment to invest in a rising star of the international gallery circuit while prices remain accessible.