A notable childhood dispossession for Reen Barrera is that he didn’t have a lot of playthings growing up and remembers being a bit bored, so naturally, the Paris-born artist considered himself a “toy-deprived kid.” However, Barrera has made up for it in his work, in a big way. Thinkspace Projects, the Los Angeles-based incubator for emerging contemporary art, has made a point of taking these inspired, universe-creating artists and producing a platform where their visions can expand. This fall, at the MCA Museum at Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona where Thinkspace has had a long-standing relationship, the gallery will present simultaneous exhibitions of Reen Barrera’s Children of Divorce and Giorgiko’s Dark Matter. Like Barrera, the duo of Darren and Trisha Inouye that make up Giorgiko are visionaries, creating what they call “a universe that is home to lost boys and wayfaring girls.” 

It seems the moment is ripe for Thinkspace to be curating two artistic exhibitions about lost childhood and innocence, during this time when many people feel like their lives have been stripped to bare essentials of memories and loss. What’s also relatable for those with children is how suspended youth has become, and how children have lost some essential years during the pandemic. These artists reflect both a sense of time forgotten and what could have been in daring and deeply personal shows, where the French Barrera and the Americans in Giorgiko compliment each other with completely new bodies of work, a richness that will be on display in the Arizona desert this fall. —Evan Pricco