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‘Scarlet’ – James Reka

‘Du bist verrückt mein Kind, du mußt nach Berlin.’ (Franz von Suppé)

Have you ever felt that things are not within your power? Meekness is a fiendish strategy to hold intact all that is dreadful and extreme. Self-subversion and asceticism hold strong, but quietly and softly the eyes of the charming and innocent boggle upwards at the hedonist. She unveils the dark ritual of work, eat, sleep, repeat – the catalepsy caused by first world existence; escalating the desire for pleasure to it’s all mighty destruction. She is Scarlet.

From the roaring 1920’s, to the second World War, and the Berlin Wall that divided the German Capital for 28 years – Berlin has historically been a dark dystopia, juxtaposed between desire and destruction. The fate this city bore has given birth to unique cultural grounds, where the lines between high life and underground are inescapably blurry. Nourished by street art, punk culture, techno music, sexual laxity and hedonism – a new generation has transformed the artefacts of Berlin’s dark past to create a Scarlet utopia of the post-war state.

Following a journey of influence in Berlin, Reka returns to Melbourne for his first solo exhibition in 4 years – Scarlet. Metaphoric notions of reconstruction are actualised through the post-cubist, industrial stylisation of the female form that features throughout Reka’s latest works – both painted and sculptural. His ‘Scarlet’ collection bears Reka’s iconic visual language, with hints of a modern romance amidst historical sculptural artefacts, erotic art forms and Berlin’s unavoidable pleasures.

Surrender to the hedonist, wander the darkness and experience James Reka’s ‘Scarlet’ at Backwoods Gallery from March 23rd to April 8th 2018. Enquiries: sales@backwoods.gallery

James Reka stands as one of Australia’s most respected young contemporary artists, having earn’t his place in the National Gallery of Australia’s permanent collection. While currently based in Berlin, Germany. His origins lie in the alleyways and train lines of Melbourne’s inner-suburbs, where he spent over a decade refining his now-emblematic aesthetic and pioneering of a new style of street art in Australia as part of the original Everfresh crew.

Surrealist, abstracted characters emerge from the depths of Reka’s mind, communicating through strong lines, bold colours and post-cubist styling. These figures live in the homes and laneways of three continents, clambering up walls and enriching the urban environment with his iconic visual language.

With influences in pop culture, cartooning and illustration, Reka’s studio style emerged from his early design practice, featuring striking lines and colour ways. Over time, the logos and symbols he created evolved into more structured, animated forms and evolved to new mediums: murals, photography, and most recently sculpture.

Through these origins, Reka has developed an incredibly diligent, almost obsessive attention to the technical proficiency of his studio work, which has elevated him to produce meticulously detailed, collected pieces. His art sits somewhere between humorous and menacing, contrasting the two opposing feelings in a way that is unique to his vision. These pseudo-human forms are recognisable but isolating, playful yet eerie.

This is Reka’s art: a paradox between fastidious design and graffiti.

Recently, Reka has held solo shows in London, San Francisco, Paris and Milan, has exhibited at the Royal West of England Academy (RWA) in Bristol, as well as pieces appearing in New York, Munich, Denver and Cologne exhibitions. On the streets, his characters adorn the walls of cities around the world from Japan to Buenos Aires, Montreal to Brooklyn, Rome and Berlin.

@rekaone

DENIAL – CONTROL + ALT + DELETE

Does the world as we know it need a hard reset? International street artist DENIAL explores this question with his newest collection of visual subversions for Control Alt Delete, his inaugural exhibition at Melbourne’s Vs. Gallery.

CONTROL+ALT+DELETE examines the current corporate power structures that seek to control our thoughts and lives and, ultimately, our wallets. Through advertising and branding techniques, these companies attempt to alter how we perceive the world in order to encourage consumerism at any cost. The pieces in the exhibition work to alter our perception of these branded images in an effort to interrupt their function and to create a new dialogue about the nature of our capitalistic lives. DENIAL works to develop bold new meanings by taking these household names and iconography and reimagining their structure and purpose to foster alternative modes of thinking. How long can our society coexist with corporate values and aspirations? Is it time to reboot?

The exhibition will feature a broad collection of works across a variety of mediums. From 3-D laser-cut assemblages, to original limited edition screen prints and wood-panel aerosol paintings, DENIAL takes his signature street style and boils it down to ironically consumable artworks that are as visually stunning as they are thought-provoking.

www.enjoydenial.com

Instagram: @denialart

www.vsgallery.com.au

Instagram: @vs.gallery.melbourne

 

Herakut’s RENTAL ASYLUM

On Saturday, February 24, downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) will proudly present the latest exhibition from leading German graffiti artists and storytellers HERAKUT — HERA (Jasmin Siddiqui) and AKUT (Falk Lehmann). Titled “Herakut’s RENTAL ASYLUM,” the exhibition of all new works will inhabit CHG’s 4,500 square-foot main gallery, with the artists in attendance.

Regarding their newest creations, HERAKUT states: “The show is called ‘Rental Asylum’ — as we all need to rent a place somewhere far from today’s actual reality, don’t we? And all our creatures on canvas are the happy patients of our rental asylum. They all have different reasons for checking in with us, for a bit, before facing the shit show our world has become.”

After joining forces in 2004, the artists merged their names and styles to collaborate as HERAKUT. Since then, the duo have been painting murals all over the world, along with additional works on canvas, paper and film for gallery and museum shows. Beyond international exhibitions around the world (France, Gaza, Germany and Jordan, among many others), live festival showings at Glastonbury (U.K.), Coachella (U.S.) and an appearance at the Happy 80th Birthday, Dalai Lama celebration (U.S.), this marks HERAKUT’s second exhibition at the gallery.

HERAKUT consider themselves “storytellers” who want to share their thoughts and questions with the public, so their figurative work is always accompanied with text. Their process of painting is also a dialogue with both artists adding their individual techniques to the piece. Jasmin uses her drawing skills on finding the form and proportion of their characters, while Falk specializes on painting the photorealistic elements.

In addition, HERAKUT are also involved with a variety of charity organizations — where the two work with children in schools and youth programs teaching young people to create a world for themselves — inside their minds. A collection of their work can be found in their books HERAKUT – the perfect merge and After The Laughter.

@herakut

BAILER – ‘DUALITY’

‘Duality’, an exhibition from Melbourne artist, Bailer, opens at fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne, on Tuesday 30 January 2018.

Photo: p1xels

Featuring paintings and sculptural works that traverse liminal states of being, ‘Duality’ aims to explore the ever-changing state of the human condition. Through abstraction, the viewer is immersed, unlocking their own mutable states of mind and coming to understand that nothing ever stays the same. All is fluid, moving.

Capturing a likeness of something that already occupies space has never really interested Bailer. Instead, the development of a personal style and the refinement of an enjoyable cathartic process takes precedence. Process is the most important part of Bailer’s artistic expression, and is clearly apparent in his work.

‘I have used art (and an array of other activities) as a form of escapism for many years. Graffiti, muralism, sketching, writing, all forms of creativity I have used to escape the hands of time, the act of contemplating my own successes/failures, impending mortality, the inequities of an unjust society. Getting deeply lost in the creative process is like ducking my head below the breakers. The roar of the ocean instantly forgotten in the calm below, surfacing for air briefly only to dive deeper. The noise of self- doubt, expectation and pressure fading into the depths.’ – Bailer

Photo: p1xels

Painting publicly in Melbourne for 20 years, Bailer’s style is instantly recognisable. The roots of his work are imbedded deeply in the graffiti subculture, and his new pieces push outside the self-imposed boundaries of genre. Bailer’s studio practice and public art incorporate a broad range of artistic modes.

Bailer’s art practice is varied: from large scale creations across walls in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Bali and Europe to more intimate approaches on canvas evoking existential explorations of the mind. His work is a fusion of biomech – surrealist manifestations of the self – expressed within abstract forms. Bailer’s art is currently positioned within these liminal states of the mind.

‘Duality’ opens at fortyfivedownstairs 45 Flinders Lane Melbourne on Tuesday 30 January from 5pm.

For catalogue enquires, contact curator: georgia.rouette@gmail.com

Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Friday 11am-5pm, Saturday 12pm-4pm

@_bailer

INTERMISSON

‘Intermission’ is an experimental exhibition taking place at the former Collingwood Technical College (Melbourne, Australia). The buildings that form the Collingwood site have been a place of learning, creativity and collaboration since its days as the Collingwood School of Art and Design in 1871. Most of the site has remained unoccupied and vacant for 12 years, but is now on the eve of becoming a working arts precinct and cultural hub.


Photo: Nicole Reed

In the interval, a diverse crew of artists, curated by Goodie, are producing and installing work over three floors of one of the heritage buildings. The show brings together a line-up of local, national and international artists, of varying ages, genders, backgrounds and practices, ranging from graffiti, murals, installation, performance and sculpture.


Photo: Nicole Reed

In the building’s current state, emptiness is an opportunity to experiment, collaborate, exhibit and develop new work in a unique space with a long history. Intermission seeks to connect artists and artistic communities, and showcase various voices and modes of making and exhibiting work.


Photo: Nicole Reed

Featuring: 23rd Key, Abyss 607, Askew, Deams, DNART, EARS, Finn Astle, Goodie, Goon Hugs, Hannah Beilharz, Hiroko Okada, Jason Parker, John Aslanidis, Josie Alexandra, Junky, Justine McAllister, Kaff-eine, Kenz, Kitt Bennett, Lester Francois, LucyLucy, Mic Porter, Nicole Reed, Odeith, Putos, Simon Beuve, Slicer, Sofles, Tom Gerrard, Tyson Campbell


Photo: Nicole Reed

Grand opening Saturday 13th January 2018 from 3pm – 6pm.

14th – 21st January 2018 – Show open between 10am – 4pm

@intermission_project

“Wool Tang Clan” @ Regalerija, Croatia

Well known Croatian graffiti artists, Lunar, SmackMosk Ronald Lindgreen, recently opened a quirky group show organized in collaboration with Regeneracija, a local company that recycles textile and produces floor coverings. Under the title “Wool Tang Clan” they managed to transform some of their creative visions to an usual medium – woolen carpets.

Opened on December 20th 2017 @ Regeneracija’s Regalerija show space in Zabok, Croatia, the artists challenged their creativity by introducing graffiti-influenced knitted works. Intrigued by the unusual medium and a chance to produce work with such atypical technique and format, the artists boldly stepped away from their comfort zones for this exhibition. In such manner Mosk created somewhat conceptual piece spelling “WHO NEEDS A CARPET ANYWAY”, reducing the household object to minimum, completely cancelling or at least questioning its purpose. His friend Smack created a large round piece based on a pixelated macro shot of one of his actually graffiti pieces. Showing such strict structure with such organic and soft medium, the artist created a vibrant piece next to his actual tag created from bundles of wool. One of Croatia’s most prominent urban artists and initiator of this project, Lunar, successfully translated his cartoon-like imagery into this new medium, similar to Ronald Lindgreen whose watercolor landscapes turned out to be a perfect motif for knitted rugs.

Instagram.com/slavenlunar
Instagram.com/smack184
Instagram.com/mosk83

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‘New Meaning’ – Shida

Shida’s work explores the interlinked relationship between ritual, sexuality and love. Psychedelic entities are entwined in ceremonial acts, transcending the boundaries of known reality. In a world where society’s issues are becoming increasingly gendered and people are seemingly more divided than ever due to the rise of identity politics, Shida seeks to turn this tide like an ancient shaman with each of these works being, in essence, an invocation, an energetic manifestation, a prayer to joy.

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Ian Strange – ‘ISLAND’

Standard Practice Gallery is thrilled to announce the international debut of Australian artist Ian Strange’s acclaimed exhibition, ISLAND to American audiences at 149 West 14th Street from November 19th – December 16th.

Continuing Strange’s investigations into the home, ISLAND features large-scale photographs documenting interventions onto suburban houses, paintings, sculpture, artefacts, found photography, research and a new limited edition publication.


Ian Strange, ‘SOS’, Archival Photographic print, Documentation of site-specific intervention 2015 – 17

ISLAND approaches the iconic symbol of the suburban home through the metaphor of the desert island – a place of refuge, protection and personal sovereignty, but simultaneously entrapment and isolation – offering an unsettling look at our deep psychological relationship with the places we live.

‘ISLAND’ OPENING EVENT:
Saturday Nov 18th
Open to the Public
6pm – 9pm

Exhibition Duration:
Sunday 19th November – Sat 16th Dec, 2017
Open 10am – 6pm daily

149 West 14th St
(Between 6th and 7th)
New York, NY


Image: Ian Strange, Untitled series, Oil pastel on found vintage photograph 2015 – 17

Photographs by Rennie Ellis and p1xels: Capturing the message – protest, graffiti and art

Photographs by Rennie Ellis and p1xels: Capturing the message – protest, graffiti and art draws on the extensive work of documentary photographer Rennie Ellis, who documented life of the 1970s and 1980s, juxtaposed with contemporary artist p1xels’ street photography.
The exhibition encourages debate about imagery and messaging in the public domain and how we respond – from local experiences, to those across Melbourne.


photo: p1xels

Photographs by Rennie Ellis and p1xels: Capturing the message – protest, graffiti and art showcases the importance of photographers documenting ephemeral aspects of our urban landscape – through their lenses they frame the political, social and cultural discourse in our public spaces.

photo: p1xels

Ellis’s photographs capture word-based graffiti of the 1970s and 1980s, which were an effective method of communicating a social message on a large scale in the days before social media. The Ellis works selected highlight that some of the concerns that were raised in the 1970s and 1980s still resonate today such as the environment and gender issues. Ellis’ framing of these political statements sits alongside the current visual records by p1xels Melbourne catalogue.


photo: p1xels

Images captured in recent times by p1xels provide a different insight where messages are still communicated on walls, but may be conveyed in a more subtle form using illustrative imagery in addition to text. The exhibition investigates the disparate styles of photographing graffiti from the documentary style of Ellis’ photography to the more aesthetic approaches of p1xels photographs.


photo: p1xels

The exhibition will be officially launched at 6pm, Thursday 30 November 2017 at The Gallery, St Kilda Town Hall. Exhibition dates: 29 November to 22 December 2017

@p1xels


photo: p1xels

A few questions with Scott Albrecht

Last time I saw Scott, we were playing ping pong at The Marcy Project in Brooklyn.  Sadly for me, he beat me in a best of 7.  It still stings a bit.  I mention it here as a form of therapy I think.  Anyway, I’m catching up with him now as his two person show with Mary Iverson called ‘Correspondence’ has just opened at Andenken in Amsterdam on November 11th.

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