An explosion of colour is hitting the walls of StolenSpace Gallery as abstract contemporary and urban art merge in this summer’s Adventures in Modern Abstraction exhibition.
Think features of classic graffiti and street art: splattered, drippy paint, spray can lines, spots, squiggles and bright tones. Now picture these layered with structured geometric shapes and graphic marks and there’s a captivating collection in store.
It’s a group show, so let’s break it down:
Felipe Pantone brings elements of typography into his hypnotic black and white designs fused with pixelated colour blocks. This creates an “ultra-modern aesthetic, which complements and reacts with the stark modernity of our cityscapes.” His work can be found in Facebook HQ in California and on the streets of cities around the globe.
Jason Woodside’s work is a kaleidoscopic collection of patterns, filling canvases with stripes and polka dots, inspired by the energy of the sea, sun and land of his native Florida. He regularly collaborates with brands and has created large-scale works in places like Sydney, Paris, Los Angeles and New York City.
Zest’s bright canvases are painted in vibrant colours, quite often favouring fluorescents. They’re full of neon movement and curves, a few splashes and drips and overlying geometric layers. He has exhibited widely and collaborated with fashion designers Agnes b. and Philippe Starck.
Jeremy Brown brings his own visual language of expressive marks, words and colour to the table. He works with mixed media and layers of paint and epoxy resin, creating abstract interpretations of nostalgic moments influenced simultaneously by music and poetry.
Clark Goolsby’s lively paintings play with positive and negative spaces and intertwining shapes and lines that interact across the canvas to create a 3-dimensional effect. His work has been widely exhibited across the United States and has been featured in many international publications.
Remi Rough’s bold compositions are dynamic, full of energy and movement. They come to life through precise lines, strong colours and neat shapes. Part of the street art scene since the 1980s, his work has graced walls from Walthamstow to Gambia and has been shown in galleries around the world.
Mad C started with graffiti at the age of 16 and the energy of the traditional street craft still plays a major role in her canvas work. Now one of the world’s top street artists and a frequent gallery exhibitor, she has turned to abstract layers of strong overlapping colours that play with transparency and the perception of liquid forms.
Augustine Kofie has a fondness for drafts and architectural renderings. His art experiments with the elements of these, bringing in building blocks of structural design with an organised, mathematical yet organic technique. Angular shapes stack up with light and shadows to create pockets of depth across his canvases.
Roids is a typographer and contemporary illustrator whose work also began on the streets. He paints by hand with computer type precision. Many of his pieces contain (sometimes deconstructed) letterforms and influence from manga and Japanese graphic designers as well as 80s and 90s nostalgia.
Florence Blanchard trained as a scientist and earned her PhD at New York University. This background directly translates to her art where she paints abstract molecular landscapes. She often mixes pastels with more subdued tones, using layers of curved shapes that lend movement and flow.
Muro’s canvases combine recognisable elements like planets, faces and hands with wild patterns and shapes to create surreal, otherworldly scenes. They welcome the viewer inside to visually explore with staircases and windows and waves of movement for the eye to follow.
Adventures in Modern Abstraction as a whole is a fiesta of graphic shapes, dynamic colours and plenty of oomph. It’s also a nod to “graffuturism”, a global movement that found its roots in abstract graffiti.
Artists whose work was primarily seen only on the streets are increasingly painting canvases instead of (or in addition to) walls and have been embraced by galleries and valued by collectors in the art world. In May this year, a painting by late graffiti artist-turned-expressionist painter Jean Michel Basquiat sold for an $110 million (£85 million) to Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. It’s a record for a US artist at auction and places Basquiat firmly in the $100 million artists club alongside Picasso and Munch and Warhol.
And so it is an interesting time to invest in work by talents whose roots in the street art scene are now pushing them upward and inward onto respected gallery walls across the globe. Adventures in Modern Abstraction could be a brilliant place to find an artist whose style you love.
Website: Adventures in Modern Abstraction
StolenSpace Gallery, 17 Osborn Street London E1 6TD
Opening reception: Thursday July 6, 6-9pm
Exhibition dates: July 7, 2017 – August 6, 2017