Australian artist David Bromley's joyous tribe of leapfrogging children, marching band elephants, flying hats and butterflies has traveled to Los Angeles to be on display — and for sale — at downtown L.A.'s Guerilla Atelier through the end of May.
Although the artist is best known for his paintings and sculptures featuring kids at play, the six-month Bromley pop-up also includes a wide range of housewares, furniture, bags and textiles as well as a capsule clothing collection designed by his wife, Yuge Bromley.
Bromley — who has been featured in solo exhibitions in New York, San Francisco and Massachusetts — wasn't on hand for the Dec. 10 official opening of what is the first Bromley & Co. exhibition/retail space in the United States. (He and his wife are expecting their second child in January.) But the brick-walled area in the back quarter of Guerrilla Atelier's 7,000-square-foot converted arts district warehouse was so crammed with the artist's handiwork that his presence was palpable.
The walls are covered with paintings done in bold strokes and bright colors, with many featuring the kind of scenes one might find in vintage children's books: kids in bunny costumes or cowboy outfits cavorting with anthropomorphic animals playing musical instruments, carefree images of pigtailed girls and news-capped boys flying kites or playing leapfrog. Other subjects include bare-breasted women and vintage-style hats, and many use layered paint with gold leaf to create a textured effect. Most of the paintings are acrylic on wood, and prices range from $1,200 to $12,000.
The floor of the boutique is dominated by an assortment of focus-pulling bronze sculptures, including an elephant clad in a marching band outfit and carrying a drum ("Band Leader," $56,000) and several versions of leapfrogging kids ($52,000 for a life-size version and $38,000 for a slightly smaller one).
Since Bromley has never mounted an exhibition of this size in the U.S., the scope of artwork on display might make a visit to Guerilla Atelier worth the trek, but what truly makes it a must-visit is the eclectic jumble of art-covered home furnishings and accessories. They include a trompe l'oeil stool and chair set ($2,200), a row of five still-attached vintage theater seats reupholstered with hand-painted canvas ($4,400), a rustic woven rug ($650), strappy, satchel-like leather bags ($900) and lunch-sack-sized, luminaria-like "ephemera crates" crafted from handmade Japanese paper ($25).
Guerilla Atelier's founder, Carl Louisville, said being able to offer something at every price point from Bromley & Co., which has four similar hybrid gallery/retail stores in Australia, made this pop-up a perfect fit for his 3-year-old boutique.
"It's about a luxury environment but not just about luxury — it's also about accessibility," he explained. "I think it's important to offer something for everybody, from $24 candles to $56,000 sculptures."
Louisville prefers to think of the Bromley & Co. presence as an artist-in-residency instead of a pop-up shop — even though the artist won't be working out of the space. "I think it's important to have it here for a longer period of time," Louisville said. "People don't need to be so rushed. They can really take the time to form a relationship with [what they see]."
In a point-and-click, see-now/buy-now world, the time to let something sink in and see how it affects you might just be the biggest luxury of all.
Bromley & Co. at Guerilla Atelier
Where: 427 S. Hewitt St., L.A.
When: Through May 31. Open noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays and noon to 7 p.m. Saturdays (also open Mondays through the holiday season).
Information: guerillagalleries.org, (310) 365-2194, bromleyandco.com