LETTERS FROM AMERICA, a pop up exhibition, mounted by LA’s Corey Helford Gallery opened last night with the level of buzz needed to convince even the jaded, that ‘Street Art” is still a meaningful genre with something to say and a quality of work rarely seen in painting sculpture and installation art today. The artists represented are all on the top end of the spectrum. The work is accomplished and stands up beyond the tiresome labels, so lets just remove them and talk about the artists and their work.
Ron English has been around for years and has no problem with the unspoken label. He feels without it he would just be another artist looking for a way to make his mark, in a world where there is a lot of competition. After studying fine art at the University of Texas, he began his career in New York as a commercial painter, working in a busy studio, mostly staffed with Polish painters, creating up-market furnishing paintings. They were not allowed to speak to one another and Ron pretty well honed his career by fine tuning a painting technique evident in his slick style of Neo- Photorealism. Unlike the work of Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst, English actually paints his own work, without an army of studio assistants. The paintings are laboured and well executed. His subjects incorporate popular cultural icons like Charlie Brown and the Teletubbies, all include his comic trademark sculls.
Risk is also an artist of the same generation as English, He is working in a style which takes tagging to another level, cropping much larger works and turning them into vibrant abstractions. His works incorporating neon does it with spectacular effect. Many of Risk’s sculptures are slickly crafted in fibreglass and mixed medium and adapted with wit and style.
Saber has brought a number of his flag pieces to show in London.The texture pays homage to Jasper Johns encaustic pieces but with a spray and freedom of line that makes them completely up to date.
Trustco creates a series of enamel signs with clever plays on words and symbols. One reads ‘Real men use fists’ with a gun crossed out and another tells you ‘Vandalism is encouraged’.
The work is all for sale at the Shoreditch space located in a railway arch at the back of the club ‘Cargo’ which was transformed into a Culver City embassy. The party was suitably authentic taking place on the 4 July and serving up American hotdogs with Frenches mustard and popcorn.
Photos: Jake Robinson © ArtLyst 2012
Letters from America Black Rat Projects Rivington Street, Shoreditch, from 4 July – 18 July