URBAN ART ICONS, CHAPTER II
May 20, 2018
Within the exhibition "Urban Art Icons", we approach today the work of Faile, Perishable Rush, Mr Brainwash and Okuda San Miguel. These artists offer a particular vision of the referents of our environment, by setting multidisciplinary works that feed on different styles and aesthetics. An example of the fusion capacity of this artistic language that puts in common colour, Pop Art and graffiti.
The phonetics of the name "FAIL" should not lead us to wrong ideas about the impulse that drives these artists who hide behind that pseudonym: Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller. Both settled in Brooklyn, their collaborative work is characterized by the appropriation of iconic elements of our society and their multidisciplinary reinterpretation, using techniques that draw on collage, the aesthetics of the comic and the colour palette of the late 80's. In their work, there is a clear evolution towards more ambitious projects connected to the urban space. They have worked more plastic proposals, risking with the choice of supports (works on wood, boxes of packaging, construction pallets ...), as well as materials more adapted to the market demand, in which to put into practice their expertise as teachers of the printing and work with ink.
These characteristic features are evident in works like "NYC You and Me" or "Subway tags", where the presence of the comic as an aesthetic reference is very intense. In their artworks, there is no shortage of written messages and self-references. In fact, much of the meaning of their proposals is concentrated in the texts and phrases incorporated into the works. Some of their most recent interventions "Temple" in Lisbon, where an old ruined church was invaded with maxims of social denunciation, and other public works commissioned that came next, as "The Wolf Within" in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) or "Les Ballets", at Lincoln Center in New York. In the last five years, they have made numerous exhibitions in galleries, with work formats adapted to other dimensions, while reserving the large installations for the public space.
The most recurrent themes in the work of Perishable Rush have to do with banality, aggression, war, anonymity, commerce and the vulgarity of current media. Rush uses in his collages images of comics, photography, advertisements and slogans, which he transforms to generate new images and meanings, representing this way his own reality.
The work by this Dutch urban artist is basically composed of two conceptual typologies: "The Ski Masks with Urban Camouflage", pieces that he builds from pieces of paper that the artist finds in the streets of Amsterdam and that he mixes with silkscreens, magazines and comics. In the silhouette of a ski mask, these fragments stick together setting up a pattern of urban camouflage. The ski masks symbolise the current struggles around the world, and in his portraits, Perishable Rush represents, in a simplified way through lines and on a background composed of scratched silkscreens, personal heroes and famous personalities from the world of art, music and the cinema.
Thierry Guetta, the artist who hides behind the pseudonym Mr Brainwash, owes much of his fame to another of the greats of urban art, Banksy. After having starred in the fake documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop", a feature film directed by the British artist who narrates a very personalist vision of the evolution of Pop Art and street art in the contemporary sphere, Thierry leapt to the world of creation. This collaboration was the beginning of an intense creative project with which Mr Brainwash, a sort of spin-off of this documentary, was born as an artist.
His work brings together many references of our consumer society, particularly known in the North American market, with which he reinterprets some of the great artistic styles of the last decades of the 20th century. An updated review of the most classic Pop Art fused with mural painting in its most expressionistic side. The unmistakable icons that one day made history with the transgressive proposals of Warhol, in pieces like "Diamond Girl Gold" or "Tomato Spray", coexist with works in which homage is paid to the artists who serve him as a reference, like in "Andy Warhol" or "Samo is Alive". A conscious building up of the artistic myth, the meta-creation of referents, the art within the art over the most genuine pollockian graffiti of Basquiat.
OKUDA SAN MIGUEL
The Urban work of Okuda San Miguel is characterized by its multicoloured geometric graphics, it reflects on existentialism, anti-capitalism, environmental destruction, loneliness and false happiness. In the iconographic language of Okuda, we find symbols, headless figures, grey bodies, animals and giant heads. Pop art, cinema, fashion, and the light and colour of other cultures are a source of inspiration both in their street interventions and in their studio works. Its polyhedral structures (circles, triangles and rhombuses), present in works such as "Refugee 18 IV" or "Women of the World" combined with a strong polychromy, make Okuda's work can be classified within pop surrealism.
The multidisciplinary production of Okuda goes from the wall, the canvas and the sculpture to the embroidery, invites the viewer to rethink some issues such as the false freedom of capitalism or the meaning of life. His colourful work has crossed the Spanish borders and many cities have murals, buildings and intervened buildings signed by this spray master, from the United States to Morocco, Taiwan, Italy or France.