Virgil Village is an area between Silver Lake and Los Feliz. Primarily a district centered around Virgil Avenue, a throughfare that connects East Hollywood to the 101 freeway and downtown Los Angeles. Currently, the area is going through an intense transition, shifting from mom-and-pop grocery stores, auto mechanics, and second-hand shops into booming upscale gourmet and boutique shopping and eating areas. Virgil Village, the painting, started as a modest ode to Matisse’s “Music Lesson,” a minimal composition of black and white vertical bars, a diagonal stripe with solid fields of color, and zones of exposed wood panel. Dissatisfied with the direction of the piece, JMe suddenly, almost unconsciously, started transforming the surface of the painting into a highly energized plane of color splotches, photocopies, and a variety of textures.
JMe has witnessed the neighborhood’s accelerated transformation and has applied the same kinetic energy and dislocated colors to capture the economic exchange that occurs during gentrification. It is a painting that conveys the old style being consumed by the new, and with this conversion, an unsettling perception that permeates the change.