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‘The Resistible Rise Of A Bear of Little Brain’ – An exhibition by Stephen Ives

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Stephen Ives is an architect of fantastic worlds.

Stephen Ives, employs a rare level of expert craftsmanship to present an unfiltered and lucid exploration of his brilliant imagination. Ives’ subconscious pours free-style poetry into his sculptures and illustrations, lacing his work with a playful language of archetypal symbols and colours.

As his audience, we are free to enjoy the surreal, superficial brilliance of a B17 Bomber with a baby’s face or a gun turret placed in dissected eyeball. However, if we choose to delve deeper into his work there is hidden meaning in each and every detail, waiting for us to decipher.

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‘Surface Tension’ – Silk Roy

Celebrating over a decade of creativity, Melbourne artist Silk Roy brings his debut solo show ‘Surface Tension’ to Melbourne. In the lead up to the show (opening this Friday), Silky was kind enough to chat with us.

How and when did you get into art and why?

I always enjoyed drawing when I was a kid, but it wasn’t ever something I thought I’d pursue until I moved to Melbourne in ’98. I’d never seen graffiti before having come over from Singapore, which in comparison was/still is a spotless city. I’d take the train to school and back everyday and it was hard not to notice the smashed insides and the walls on the line changing nightly. For a 13 year old, the idea of having an alias that people identified you by and going out on missions was pretty appealing. It wasn’t until years later that I’d realize this daydream, but of course now being an active writer, artist, creative is much more that, it’s given me a sense of ‘self’, and outlet to express my ideas and thoughts and a platform to continue my creative journey.

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You run two identities, Kid Silk and Silk Roy, How did this come about?

Basically I arrived at a point where I needed to let my graffiti and studio practise have their own shine as trying to put all my work under one name was confusing and felt forced. Silk is an old nickname I was given a long time ago so it was a no-brainer as far as putting it up as a writer.

‘Kid Silk’ came about because of my insta handle, other writers would meet me and ask who I was, I’d reply ‘Silk’ and they’d ask ‘Like Kid Silk?” It also works in terms of me keeping graffiti for myself, I don’t intend to profit from it or ever make it feel like work, it’s fun and I get to go out and essentially be a kid.

Silk Roy on the other hand is the name I work under when I’m showing / producing studio work. Two identities works for me now as I’ve started getting opportunities for both which is cool as far as keeping things varied creatively.

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‘ZERO TO THE LEFT’ – Luke Cornish (ELK)

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For many years, Cornish has challenged himself and others with his art. Often confronting and always compelling, he never ceases to spark conversations around race, religion, conflict and the human condition,. His work sees him travel to some of the most dangerous conflict zones in the world. The artists most recent trip abroad was a venture to Syria. In one of the artists most significant bodies of work to date, ‘ZERO TO THE LEFT’ intends to:

‘Put a human face on the effects of this war and raise awareness for the people caught in the middle of this conflict…It’s these people I want to support, the ones that left and the ones that have stayed…the ones that have no say in how their government fights this war, the ones who have no say in the sanctions that are crippling their lives and the ones who have no say in foreign invaders bent on destroying their secular society; the everyday people just trying to get by.’ – Luke Cornish

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“Slither Between the Blinds Shows Our Fears” – Anthony Lister + NEW PRINT!

“As a child, I was repeatedly told by my father that I had an Aboriginal uncle. I grew up until the age of 14 believing that in fact I was partly Aboriginal by blood and in turn embraced my perceived heritage. It wasn’t until I asked for more details as a young teenager that I was confronted by an amused and dismissive father, laughing as he said: “I never said that”. In this exhibition I take a closer analysis of what it is to be influenced by misguiding role models and the potential psychologically damaging effects on misguided youth. These works are atheistic explorations analysing identity, culture, mythology, heritage, parenting and stereotypes.” – Anthony Lister

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Based on this particular sense of misdirection drawn from his own experience and memories, “Slither Between the Blinds Shows Our Fears” sees Anthony Lister conveying a reflection infused with a range of vivid emotions which, while personal in origin, are also universal enough to resonate deeply with us all.

Expanding on previously explored themes, the artist has created an entirely new body of works for this exhibition, comprising a series of painted canvasses and a central installation of a sculptural nature. Conveying the habitual instinctual urgency of his visual language – tumultuous and mordant on the surface, yet imbued with a captivating poetic uniqueness – these works feature a wide range of symbolic references from his personal life along with others that play with some key (and stereotypical) elements of Aboriginal and Australian iconographies.

Constituting a personal journey of reflection, “Slither Between the Blinds Shows Our Fears” thus presents an intimate portrait on revelation, identity and purpose while also expressing the artist’s own approach to contemporary mythology.

“Slither Between the Blinds Shows Our Fears” is on show at Lisbon’s Underdogs Gallery from 16 June – 15 July 2017.

Lister has also released a new print, available exclusively from LISTER Shop.

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‘LADY ENTITLEMENT’ is a unique multiple,signed and numbered, edition of 100. A 300mm x 210mm screen print hand embellished with ink on 245gsm museum quality archival paper available for AU$120.

For all things Lister, keep an eye on his instagram story as he preps for his Lisbon show over at @anthonylister and @lister_shop for all your LISTER needs!

Seasons of Change – ‘Illmatic’

‘Seasons of Change’ has been showcasing local and international artists at Melbourne’s Revolver for over six years. The elements of each event are dictated by the artists, however all feature a large scale mural and a one night only exhibition.

This Friday 2nd June, Seasons of Change presents ‘Illmatic.’ Spearheaded by Poise, ‘Illmatic’ has VNA’s good friend p1xels shadow Style, Marine and Poise on a secret Melbourne mission. Canvases and photographic prints (signed by all members of the mission) will be available at the show.

For those not lucky enough to be able to attend the event, we have got your back! Featured below are several exclusive photos from p1xels and bios on some of the characters involved in the mission.

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‘I started in 1995 after finding Hype Magazine that was Australian produced, and finally the book ‘Subway Art’ that I stole from my local library and soon became my bible.

Since then I’ve joined crews such as TSF and CKA both of which have long histories in the Melbourne graffiti scene, and with CKA being a local crew to me and where I grew up, I lived and breathed their graffiti everyday via trains/train lines, and local secret walls that were covered in master pieces. This is something to this day, still drives me to be better.

I’m lucky enough to have travelled with my work and met some of best friends networking within the graffiti scene. Places such as NYC and Canada are personal favourites.

Currently still in Melbourne and painting, doing shows, and pushing my work/style forward.’

MARINE.ONE CKA.TSF 

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Artist profile: BAILER

Bailer has been a leading proponent of the Melbourne graffiti and public art scene for over a decade.

Actively contributing artistically for nearly twenty years he has dedicated the best part of his adult life to creating public works and supporting other creatives. Growing up with a graffiti addiction constantly painting letter after letter line after line he now wants to focus on progression. Pushing his style outside the boundaries and confines of the traditional graffiti structure Bailer hopes to continually increase the scale of his works and to paint them on new surfaces. 

Mid mural, Damo had the opportunity to go one on one with Bailer, to talk about the current lay of the land in Melbourne, what makes him tick, and also what pisses him off.

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Damo: Thanks for taking the time to chat today. I just was wondering if we could start at the beginning. Who or what is Bailer?

Bailer: I guess Bailer was a separate entity to myself. I think you build an ethos around the name that you create in the graffiti world, so for a while Bailer was a name that I tried to live up to.

This was quite detrimental to my life as I was doing violent and extreme things. You create hype around your own bullshit and then you have to live up to it. You do a few stupid things and your dirty washing on line gets aired down the grape vine. It got quite strange at one point, meeting people who would say shit like “You’re not Bailer, I know him.” Or “I heard he was 7 foot tall.” This that and the other. Bizarre really.

I’m at a point in my life where I’m sick of having multiple facets, divided up: a real identity, a fake identity, a graffiti entity, a business persona etc. I’ve been trying to simplify my life cutting out many of the negative aspects and focusing on art, music and health. I have been creating artwork, rap as well as graffiti under the same name instead of constantly shifting between split personalities. I guess that’s what it is; a projection of the creative self mixed with the ego.

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Artist profile: Mic Porter

Mic Porter is synonymous with graffiti, urban and contemporary art in Melbourne. Having been beautifying Melbourne’s streets since the early 2000’s, Mic has recently returned with a vengeance. Speaking from his new studio in Melbourne’s inner north, we took ten minutes with Mic to discover a little more.

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Damo: Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your art?

Mic: My name is Mic Porter and I am a painter and sculptor, with a background in a few other mediums as well. I have been practicing for several years and really enjoy what I do. I am based on Melbourne but have travelled quite a bit and manage to experience many cultures. More recently I lived in Auckland for three years.

I don’t exactly know how to classify my style whether or not it is a style or not. I try and jump around a little bit from being like really loose and free with my line work and then make it really tight, either way I tend to be fastidious. I mostly create figurative painting and sculpture but I’ve also done a lot of installation sculpture.

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DEAMS – ‘Transition’

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Painter, designer and geometric visionary Deams has been influencing the Melbourne street art scene for over a decade. A founding member of the infamous Melbourne collective AWOL Crew, his work can be found in both galleries and street contexts around the world.

Deams has an intuitive approach to painting and process, which allows for his work to oscillate between tangible and intangible forms and realities. He approaches his practice with a studious dedication to his past and the immediacy of his present, discovering links between the impressions of his childhood and his current ideas and experiences.

His work continues to explore aesthetic and interpersonal relationships through compositional conversations in form and texture.

Following on from his hugely successful 2016 exhibition, ‘In The Fold’, Deams returns to Backwoods for his second exhibition with the gallery. ‘Transition’ marks a further progression and sophistication of his distinctive approach to painting and abstraction. This new body of work encapsulates the seemingly chaotic yet clearly directed nature of energy and form in a state of transition.

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Low Bros – ‘Wired’

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The Low Bros are an artist duo, made up of brothers Christoph and Florin Schmidt – formerly active graffiti writers Qbrk and Nerd. Incorporating influences taken from graffiti, hip hop, skateboarding, the Low Bros invite you to explore the ‘Low Bro universe’, an assemblage of signs and symbols embodying the conflicts of the modern age.

Their work comprises several reoccurring characters all constructed from bold geometric shapes and vivid patterns. As the viewer begins to deconstruct these forms, the complexity of their aesthetic is revealed with each symbol introducing another layer to explore. The contrast in the forms is as evident as the conflict with our human sensibilities…hardwired to progress but an innate urge to return to the past.Recognised for their vivid compositions and Retro Futuristic animal portraits, Berlin based duo Low Bros Present ’Wired’; the next chapter exploring social and individual Identity in a digital age.

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‘Wired’ marks a subtle shift in direction for the Low Bros, an adjustment in the creative scope of their work. From the nostalgic identity of a subcultural past, ‘Wired’ focuses the cultural identity of an evermore metaphysical present.

Through muted palettes and minimal compositions, ‘Wired’ centres the graphic form of the Wolf. The Wolf floats in no discernible space, often duplicated or fractured among recognisable objects from contemporary culture and nature. His surface appears to be made from hard, durable materials like concrete or marble. Like a fortress, his walls protect something vulnerable, as we explore his form, soft spots are revealed to us in pink fleshy tones. He further draws on these physical boundaries with the use of slick shades; emotional and intellectual barriers from the oncoming stares. In the surrounding negative space, we see thin copper wires shooting through the void. Despite their more engineered nature, symmetry and balance is apparent in their movement as they penetrate the space and figures alike; a unique network developing in each composition. The wolf is literally connected but what does this mean? Are the wires forming around him as a vine does a tree, or is he building and maintaining this connection himself?

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Stripped back, the Wolf has grown more powerful and his posturing counterparts from the past are nowhere in sight. His abstract, seemingly random world does not attempt to imitate life but has become symbolic of it, as have the objects which populate the space. The viewer in turn moves beyond the idea of connecting with the Wolf to learn his secrets or explore the narrative he exists in. Instead we are encouraged to reflect ourselves inside of this unrecognisable, yet familiar reality; question how we cultivate and project persona rather than identity and to whom. Like the Wolf, we are Wired..but does this make us more connected?

Opens 6 April 2017 at Stolenspace Gallery.