July 18, 2013

Getting Pasted, with ASVP

Classic ASVP 'sociability' paste-ups in Chicago, 2010

In a world where technology allows artists cheap, easy access to print off 1000's of digital renderings with minimal effort, NewYork-based artistic duo ASVP are standing out. While the artists' identities (as well as the acronym ASVP) remain shrouded in mystery, the time and attention to detail they put into their handmade, silk-screened pasters is attracting some serious attention. 
"Nearly everything we do is totally original artwork that is hand drawn, first in pencil, then in ink, then refined over-and-over again and slowly redrawn again in an ultra-clean digital form that gives us the ability to pull super clean, high quality prints. Then we burn our own screens and make our own prints.

We're learning that some people think the images are lifted because of how clean they are. This kills us... The handmade quality is an integral part of who we are and what we hope people will appreciate what we're doing."
Their pieces can be seen on the streets of cities around the world, like London, Zurich, Amsterdam, and Hong Kong, and all across the US in cities like San Francisco, Detroit, Cleveland and here in Chicago where there are still a couple of old ASVP pieces riding from years ago. So when you do spot one, take a minute to appreciate the fact that it wasn't spit out of a copier at Kinko's. 

July 11, 2013

Rodrigo Level and Gabriel Kieling: EQUILIBRIO

Rodrigo Level

Brazil's vibrant street art scene has been producing compelling work both in the streets and in the galleries for years. The current wave of social and political unrest that the country has been experiencing seems to have emboldened those who would utilize the streets as a canvas and magnified the timeliness of their actionsTwo Brazilian artists we've been watching thrive amid this chaos are Rodrigo Level and Gabriel Kieling. These artists share more than the primarily black and white palette of Brazilian Cordel Art, they both pass freely between the street and the gallery scene without compromising their style or the depth of their messaging.

Mural by Gabriel Kieling / Sao Paulo

Soma by Rodrigo Level
acrylic on canvas, 2013
In his youth Rodrigo Level was influenced by the colors covering the walls of his neighborhood of São Paulo. He started painting large-scale graffiti based works on the streets of his hometown in the mid 1990s.  

Over time his paintings evolved from stylized letter forms to abstract shapes which eventually became building blocks of other images. And that palette that had first inspired his work was refined down to black and white, punctuated with subtle pops of sophisticated color.

The tranquility that Level's paintings project is no accident. From the lines to the colors, all is chosen to project the calming harmony that is missing from much of contemporary life. It is the artist's intention that these paintings are meant not to capture or harness this energy, but rather to project it outward. As Level states: "Every energy produced in a positive way and well applied generates everlasting waves. The positive efforts of a generation will always impact positively on future society" 

Refuge by Gabriel Kieling
acrylic on canvas, 2013

Gabriel Kieling is an architect. A native of São Paulo, he was born and raised in that city's downtown. Consequently he finds that the city has had a profound impact on both his work and his art. His other influences are Cordel Art and European artists from the early part of of the last century like Gustav Klimt and Egon Shiele.

For Kieling the progression of his art began indoors through woodcut, stencil and screen printing. The journey then migrated into the street as he sought to express himself in "a scale larger than the paper." Initially he wheat pasted his pre-painted images, but eventually decided to forgo the paper and paint directly on walls.

Working in an almost exclusively monochromatic color palette, his work blends clean, precise lines and geometric shapes with the sensuality of the female form. The resulting images are surprisingly intimate and mesmerizing. Kieling says that the black and white of his art "exposes opposites: the contrast of day and night, the dilemma of life and death, the duality of the universe, harmony and chaos".

We couldn't resist the opportunity to partner with our friends over at Holiday Exploits to bring these two incredibly talented artists to Chicago for a project that they are titling EQUILIBRIO (Portuguese for equilibrium). While Level and Kieling are in Chicago Holiday will be working with them on printed editions, Maxwell Colette Gallery will host an exhibition of new work, and we will all be working together to facilitate some great outdoor installations!  

Mural by Rodrigo Level / Sao Paulo

EQUILIBRIO kicks off August 1st, and culminates with the opening reception at Maxwell Colette Gallery on Friday, August 9 from 6pm - 10pm.

Further information:

Gabriel Kieling's Flickr | Facebook

Rodrigo Level's Flickr | Facebook


 Ilustração 1.0 | Moringa | TodaBossa by Gabriel Kieling 2012

July 2, 2013

Hense: New Paintings at Maxwell Colette

HENSE: New Paintings is on view through July 20, 2013 at Maxwell Colette Gallery, featuring a body of large-scale paintings on wood and smaller works on canvas from the internationally lauded muralist, Alex HENSE Brewer.

HENSE’s work is fluid and playful. It is a delicate interplay of geometric shapes, organic forms, abstract lines and frenetic squiggles executed in a furious effusion of saturated pastel hues. His massive, free-form paintings and epic public mural installations are not what you would expect from someone with HENSE’s Graffiti pedigree. His work is a natural extension of the radical visual legacy of Abstract Expressionism, but it is imbued with a palette purloined from some tropical paradise and a swagger that places it firmly in the current Post-Street Art age. HENSE says he is “combining the language and techniques of graffiti art with the formal language of painting in [the] studio,” and that his paintings “are invigorated by the quick pace and commentary of street culture.”  

Alex HENSE Brewer’s nearly two decades working in the realm of public art grants and commissions has produced exterior works across the U.S, and abroad in Spain, France, Japan, Taiwan, Peru and Mexico. In April 2013 he completed a  massive commissioned wall in the heart of Lima, Peru. In the fall of 2012 he garnered national attention for his treatment of the entire exterior of a historic church in Washington, DC.  His work is held in numerous collections including The High Museum of Art in Atlanta.  Complete information about HENSE may be found on his site.