On September 19th, Australian artist David “MEGGS” Hooke concluded his one-month residency at Inner State Gallery with the opening of his solo exhibition, Spoiled Rotten.
The exhibition of over 40 new paintings and multiples explores the wondrous decay of social morality stemming from modern society’s obsession with pop culture and overindulgent materialism. The artworks, all of which were created in Detroit during his residency, continue MEGGS’ perpetual fascination with dualism and finding beauty in tragedy.
The city of Detroit plays a major influence in MEGGS’ philosophy behind Spoiled Rotten. The exhibition highlights Detroit as an inspirational juxtaposition of a spoiled past and its position as a new canvas for growth and rebirth. MEGGS’ use of deteriorating signage and locally sourced materials from the city’s abandoned and forgotten places emphasizes the revival of social pillars such as community and the idea that destruction and decay breed new beginnings.
“Detroit is a city of duality more so than many other cities I have been to. I sought to incorporate this by using objects and surfaces that imply decay, in what I consider to be a beautiful way. Old wooden materials and signs with layers of paint tell a story of their own. Although the colors and textures are aesthetically beautiful, I think it’s about giving these materials a new life, a second purpose,” MEGGS said while working in the Inner State Gallery loft.
The genesis of Spoiled Rotten lies in MEGGS’ painting entitled ‘Life’s Ups and Downs,’ which features a split image of the inflated iconic yellow happy face balloon juxtaposed with its discarded, decaying, and deflated other half.
“This concept started when I saw a deflated happy face balloon, which is an image I’ve been obsessed with lately. The ‘happy’ balloon is a classic icon that depicts playfulness, optimism, and the idea of, “Have a nice day!” Yet, the balloon is also a very disposable item and has a limited life span. It deflates. I think this is something that people can identify with and it ties into that idea of duality in Detroit,” MEGGS said.
The exhibition also marked the debut of a new sculptural collaboration between MEGGS and artist Rafael Batista of Brooklyn, New York. Batista, who hand-sculpted each piece, gives new life to MEGGS’ happy face balloon images, taking them from canvas to 3D collectors’ items.
Photo Credit Miya Tsukazaki and Mike Popso.