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Mark My Words

Cheryl Hazan Contemporary Art
35 North Moore Street, 212-343-8964
Tribeca / Downtown
March 1 - March 31, 2012
Reception: Thursday, March 1, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

A group exhibit of text based and graffiti inspired paintings which includes:

TMNK Lisa Bean Andrew Burgess Jose Camacho CJ Collins Jennifer Jarnot Curtis Kulig Dan Monteavaro Hugo Moro Tad Lauritzen Wright Briggs Edward James Verbicky

What was once new has become a familiar part of our visual vocabulary. In the same way that sampling is employed in music, these painters quote earlier painters. Text, letters as forms, mark making that includes tagging, and a gestural use of symbols are what loosely tie together this selection of painters. TMNK, a street artist, splices recognizable styles into his own energetic neo-expressionist pastiche – Basquiat and Barry McGee, are among his influences. Since the 1980’s artists have used imagery inspired by and drawn from the signature marks left by urban street ‘taggers”. A trademark stylized initialing left behind originally on the sides of subway cars, on walls and buildings, tags have become part of the visual vocabulary. A full generation later Basquiat and Keith Haring’s influence has evolved into a now commonplace look. The “wild style” that first emerged in the South Bronx and East Village has since been through several revivals.

Pop artists in the ‘60s adapted advertising images – Andy Warhol’s Brillo boxes and Campbell’s soups cans or their even earlier predecessors, Stuart Davis and Gerald Murphy. The co-opting by artists of the look of advertising has come full circle, so that large corporations pay to use an artists trademark logo. As was the case with Curtis Kulig, whose obsessive repetition of the phrase Love Me took on a life of its own and was usurped more than once for branding, with and without his permission. Hugo Moro uses elements of pop art- from billboards or blown up vintage Cuban photos that he then adds his own graffiti to. James Verbicky’s collages of glossy advertising logos are reminiscent of both vintage advertising memorabilia now being auctioned at Sothebys and the work of Jacques de la Villegle´, the French artist who collages torn street posters onto canvas. Andrew Burgess incorporates typography into collage paintings.

What may appear to be a naïve and primitive charm is deliberate in the work of Lisa Bean, Tad Lauritzer Wright, and Margaret Glew. Other painters incorporate words into the composition so that the word becomes a shape or is doubly used to convey meaning and as a design element. Jennifer Jarnot’s cut out letters are patterned with paint by number designs. CJ Collins uses computer generated combinations of forms that result in a mid twentieth century look of crisp black lines and primary colors. Jose Camacho uses blocks of text traced with old-fashioned stencils. In the same territory as Glen Ligon and Mel Kendrick- Comacho’s ground is built up of colored newspaper pages with the expression Ay Bendito repeatedly layered on top.
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