Martin Wittfooth Exhibit ‘Domestic Katabasis’ @ Corey Helford Gallery (Oct. 20 – Nov. 24)

On Saturday, October 20, downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery will proudly present the new solo exhibition from Martin Wittfooth, entitled Domestic Katabasis, in the Main GalleryThe opening reception will be held on Saturday, October 20 from 7pm – 11pm, and the show will be on view until November 24.

One of the most provocative artists of the New Contemporary movement, Wittfooth’s new series will feature the largest and most ambitious paintings of his career ─ 19 new oil paintings in total on canvas, linen, or wood panels.

In his show statement, Wittfooth shares, ‘Katabasis’ is an ancient Greek term that refers to a descent of some type in mythology, usually into the underworld, out of which there is often no return – though in the archetypal hero’s journey, explored at length in the work of notable thinkers such as Joseph Cambell and Carl Jung, this descent also offered an invitation to awaken to the gravity of one’s situation in order to properly overcome its challenges. In this new series of works, titled Domestic Katabasis, I wanted to explore how humanity’s efforts of taming nature – and indeed, of taming the nature in ourselves – might represent a kind of fall from grace – a downward departure from the archetype of the ‘gardens’ of our origin. The progress of the human enterprise is often visualized as having upward momentum, while from another perspective one might well regard its opposite: that the more we aspire to dominate the world from up high, the deeper the valley is that we actually find ourselves in.

I explore various themes concerning the human condition through the animal form. In this new series I’ve chosen to include domesticated animals in each of the works, transformed by design from an archaic wild state, to more neatly fit inside the autobiography of our species. As such, the animal subjects in the paintings serve as reflections of our human ideals and desires: the ‘other’ transformed into the controlled, sterilized and familiar ‘we,’ or ‘I’ – designed, tamed, shaped and manicured to fit within the norms of culture.”

Wittfooth concludes by quoting poet Robert Bly’s Iron John: A Book About Men: “We remember Oedipus in his katabasis: one day an arrogant, demanding king, the next a blind man being led around by others.”


About Martin Wittfooth:

Martin Wittfooth was born in Toronto, Canada in 1981, and spent most of his childhood in Finland, moving back to Toronto in 1993 where he earned his BAA in Illustration from Sheridan College in 2003. He currently lives and works as an illustrator and fine artist in New York City, where he earned his MFA at the School of Visual Arts in 2008.

Wittfooth’s oil paintings explore disquieting themes of industry and nature, unhinged evolution, the clash of old ideologies with modern fears, and the growing shadow of the human footprint on the earth. Set in atmospheric landscapes rendered over many paint layers on canvas, linen, or wood panels, these themes are realized through a combination of symbolism, the juxtaposition of visual narratives, and the displacement of expected realities. The worlds created in Wittfooth’s paintings implore the viewer to question the status quo, to challenge that which is taken for granted, and to proceed with caution on our present course.

Wittfooth’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide, with solo exhibitions in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, Montreal, and Europe. His paintings have also appeared in numerous publications, such as Juxtapoz, American Art Collector, and Vice, including gracing the covers of Beautiful BizarreNew American PaintingsHi-Fructose, and American Artist Magazine.

In 2014, Wittfooth released Babel, a 124-page, hardcover monograph featuring his paintings from years 2009-2014, designed and published by Murphy Design.

In 2016, Wittfooth’s original painting “Incantation” was on view in Hi-Fructose‘s “Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose” exhibition at Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art.

In addition, Wittfooth designed the cover art for California-Nashville rock band Rival Sons’ 2016 album Hollow Bones.


About Corey Helford Gallery:

Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) was first established in 2006 by Jan Corey Helford and her husband, television producer and creator, Bruce Helford (Anger ManagementThe Drew Carey ShowGeorge LopezThe Oblongs) and has since evolved into one of the premier galleries of New Contemporary art. Its goals as an institution are the support and growth of young and emerging, to well-known and internationally established artists, the production and promotion of their artwork, and the general production of their exhibits, events and projects. 

CHG represents a diverse collection of international artists, primarily influenced by today’s pop culture and collectively encompassing style genres such as New Figurative Art, Pop Surrealism, Neo Pop, Graffiti and Street Art, and Post-Graffiti.

After nine years in Culver City, CHG relocated in December 2015 to a robust 12,000 square foot building in Downtown Los Angeles, where it continues to host exhibitions within the heart of the city’s art community. The current space boasts three separate galleries, each of which house individual artist and group exhibitions, whereas the main gallery offers 4,500 square feet, providing total immersion for its attendees. New exhibitions are presented approximately every five weeks. For more info and an upcoming exhibition schedule, visit and connect on



Thank you to Aaron Feterl from RECKONING PR for this artist insight.
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