On the Town: New exhibit in Burbank mixes realistic images with dream-like subjects


Local artist Andrea Yomtob has been waiting for over two years to showcase her work at Gallery 839 located in the Animation Guild building on Hollywood Way in Burbank.

“I had been on the waiting list for over a year when I got the call,” Yomtob said. “Then, I couldn’t believe they called me when they did. The timing wasn’t right. I’d just had a baby, and so I had to decline and go to the back of the line again.”

Having moved up to the front of the queue once again, Yomtob recently received a second invite from the guild to present her work in an exhibit she calls “Neo-Magic Realism,” which began with an opening-night reception this past Friday.

Throughout the opening, Yomtob, who illustrates children’s books and was an animation artist at Nickelodeon for over a decade, welcomed friends and former colleagues to her show that features works created using the media of oil and wax.

“It’s a technique of layering paint and wax and then scratching out patterns,” she said. “I learned it from my mentor, Omar d’Leon, who created and developed the technique as a young man growing up in Nicaragua.”

Her creations, which blend scenes of simple everyday life with fantastical elements of mythology and symbolism, are punctuated by the use of rich and bold colors.

“Magical realism is a form of literary storytelling that has roots which can be traced back to parts of Latin America,” Yomtob said.

“It fuses realistic representations of everyday phenomena with elements that are magical and fantastical,” she added.

Adopting the genre, which transforms storytelling from the written word to imagery, Yomtob said her work hearkens back to European artists such as Giorgio de Chirico and Alberto Savinio, who created realist paintings infused with fantasy and dream-like subjects.

“The term ‘magic realism’ was first used by Franz Roh, who was a German historian, photographer and art critic, in his 1925 book, ‘Nach Expressionismus: Magischer Realismus,’” Yomtob said.

“It is a genre that I find to be so beautiful and expressive. I loved creating characters at Nickelodeon, but that was doing what they wanted,” Yomtob said.

“When I do this work, I am totally in my world,” she added.

“Neo-Magic Realism” will run through Jan. 29 at Gallery 839, which rotates exhibits on a monthly basis.

The gallery, located at 1105 N. Hollywood Way, is open to the public during business hours of the Animation Guild, which is the home for Local 839 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at or (818) 563-1007.