By Christina Campodonico
Christine Wu’s paintings toss and turn.

There’s a nude woman erotically tangled in sheets on top of shifting images of herself, close-ups of a girl with lip piercings inspecting her mouth, tongue and teeth with anxiety, and an ingénue rocking herself back and forth in slow motion.

These multi-layered images are intimate, haunting and dream-like, making “Sleepless” an apt title for the exhibit of Wu’s work that opens Saturday at Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City.

Wu is a New York-based figurative oil painter whose work explores the things that may keep us at night — sex, death, self-doubt and, yes, even ghosts.

“My inspirations are pulled from my personal experiences, and the work always revolves around the thoughts of metaphorical deaths that become figurative ghosts,” Wu told Rough Italia magazine in a 2013 interview.

“Memories are like ghosts, and we will always carry them within ourselves in some form or another,” she said. “In my work I like to mingle feelings [of] nostalgia and disquiet to create images that are arresting in their vague familiarity, like the fraying fringes of dreams.”

Where Wu’s paintings evoke shadows and dreams, Swedish painter Linnea Strid’s counterpart exhibit at Thinkspace, “Love Me When I’m Gone,” is a wakeup call from such reverie. Her latest paintings explore in hyper-realistic detail figures that are transformed and transfixed by the power of water.

Meet both artists at the exhibit’s opening reception on Saturday night.

“Christine Wu – Sleepless” and “Linnea Strid – Love Me When I’m Gone” open from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, and remain on display through Feb. 20 at Thinkspace Gallery, 6009 Washington Blvd., Culver City. Call (310) 558-3375 or visit