Transylvania at Harold Golen Gallery

By Matt Balmaseda

altHarold Golen first began to acquaint himself with the sort of work presented in his gallery, dubbed “Pop Surrealism,” during the 10-year span of time in which he ran a collectibles shop in South Beach. “I used to go to Magic, the fashion expo in Las Vegas,” says Golen, “where I would see new art I was excited about. Because South Beach was changing, I decided to open my own gallery.” Since its inception in 2007, the Harold Golen Gallery has been a regular presence in the city since and continues to represent strong, unique and talented individuals.

One of these is Chris Dean, who has been with the gallery since it opened. His most current exhibition, “Transylvania”, is a series of eleven 36” x 46” lenticular holograph images. The medium allows Dean to create images that move, levitate and morph when viewed from various angles. “His technique has improved tremendously in the past two years,” Golen says of Dean. “His depth and movement with the medium is great and he is one of the top lenticular artists out there.”

While “Transylvania” can certainly be seen as a statement on the nature of change, as the lenticular medium suggests, it is also more specifically focused on the city of Detroit, Dean’s hometown. It is a place currently defined by a bleak political system and an emerging focus on urban farming. These juxtaposing images reflect the transformation the city has already undergone, and is continuing to go through. According to Dean, “the unraveling of its affluence is a reminder that we live in a world of constant transformation, a place where things have a lifespan and eventually return to their origins.”

The multilayered works displayed in the show are composed of photographs of Detroit and bright, hypercolor images of robots and rainbows. They are eye-catching and amusing, and at the same time suggest a world that both does and does not exist. It is a world of familiarity and fantasy, and one that asks viewers to question the transitions and changes in their own lives and surroundings, while still being aesthetically appealing and uplifting, as if to say that although change is inevitable, it doesn’t have to come as a bleak realization.

The show opened in January, during the Wynwood Gallery Walk, with a reception that included a live performance by The Gold Dust Lounge, and is runs through February. The response, according to Golen, has been tremendous. “People are mesmerized by the technique and how you can achieve such depth in a flat image.” Pieces from the show have also been presented in Cologne, Germany and were exhibited at the Aqua Art Fair in Miami Beach.

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