Each artist (Josh George, Christophe Lopez-Huici, Michela Martello, Erik Sanner, ChrisRWK...) creates a unique dialogue, sometimes intimate, and other times in the form of a mass communication.
ChrisRWK & Herb Veng Smith
and Justin West
Tria Gallery presents Urbane Decay from April 4 through June 8, 2013.
Urban living takes its toll on the human spirit. The six artists in Urbane Decay have all grappled with the grittiness and realities of city living, and have found ways, through their artistic endeavors, to make the experience more livable and urbane. On display in Urbane Decay will be large scale graffiti installations, very fine and detailed pencil etchings of crumbling city spaces, collages of buildings created from personal belongings, paintings of a flower trying to break through the concrete, and individual portraits of disenfranchised people trying to connect on some level with the strangers around them.
In the center of it all will be an interactive sculptural installation of traffic cones which will invite viewers to express their own opinions on art and city life.
Each artist creates a unique dialogue, sometimes intimate, and other times in the form of a mass communication. Each reminds us that human connection is always possible even in an ever changing, and sometimes decaying, environment. One can embrace the decay and find in it inherent beauty, re-create its essence, interact with it, or simply cover it up.
He has always been attracted to the exterior and interior urban landscape. "It holds a different kind of beauty - the decaying masonry work of time tested dwellings and the dismal skies that surround them. Shadows that cast on withered walls display individual windows where people go about their routine lives, hearing the urban world, but not quite listening. Everyone simply exists. I use a barrage of materials to record these scenes and a lot of fat paint knifed over torn strips of wallpaper and ugly product labels. The piece is finished with a delicate brush to define a street sign or a highlight on some one's wine bottle. "
George spent many years in Brooklyn painting the urban settings he loves. He currently lives in Richmond, VA. He has had nearly 20 solo exhibitions, and countless group exhibitions, around the country and abroad.
"Because I live in a large city, I have an issue with loneliness and need to believe that we are all connected somehow. I started taking pictures randomly in the crazy urban New York City environment and began painting the faces of people I had captured. I found the human element in the streets to be wide open, and that there was virtually no gap between intense aggressiveness and beautiful kindness."
Michela Martello was born in Grosseto, Italy. She received her Bachelor of Arts in illustration from the Europe Institute of Design. In the ensuing years she traveled extensively, dividing her time between Milan, London and New York, and became a prominent illustrator, publishing work in over thirty books. She evolved from illustrator to painter, and ever since her paintings have been exhibited regularly over the past decade, both in the U.S. and abroad, and is held in both private and public collections worldwide, including the Serafina Group, the City Cinema Group, and the Fulton Collection.
"One thing running through much of my work for the past 15 years has been traffic cone aesthetics- the idea that one can look at traffic cones as art, in the same way one approaches a painting or a sculpture."
Sanner is a new media artist living and working in New York City. He began exhibiting in Tokyo in the late 90s, and was given his first solo show there in 1998. Sanner integrates traditional media with contemporary methods of creative production to create dynamic installations he calls "paintings that move". Using computer processing to constantly recompose and recombine video footage and computer graphics, he projects video images onto prepared surfaces such as oil paintings or three dimensional sculptural pieces.
In 1997 Sanner was awarded a Manhattan Community Arts Fund (MCAF) grant for his public art project "Chess" in which he invited park-goers to invent rules and paint together on chess boards. He was awarded a second MCAF grant in 2009 for "How to Enjoy Traffic Cones", a diverse exhibition of work by several artists treating traffic cones as aesthetic phenomena.
"As a child of the 80s, my world was often completely flooded with the imagery and ideas presented by television, comic books, music and movies of the era."
Chris began to store the images from his everyday media experiences in what he refers to as a "mental journal". This journal, a constant companion, provides inspiration for his tableaus, which frequently depict past examples of popular culture with a contemporary twist. In addition to providing familiar and comforting images, Chris has created his own iconographic work on countless walls and buildings throughout New York City, which over the years have become familiar in their own right to passers-by on the street.
In 2001 Chris set in motion RobotsWillKill.com, an arts site dedicated to the street art community and to creating exposure for this medium often disregarded by the mainstream art world. Rather than featuring his own work exclusively, Chris opened it up other street artists, and it has involved into a well-known source of art and musing from core group of talented artists, including Chris, fellow Urbane Decay artist and collaborator Herb Veng Smith, Kev/Psyn, Mike Die and OverUnder. Along with overseas affiliates ECB (Germany), Peeta (Italy), Flying Fortress (Germany) and JesseRobot (Belgium), Chris has built this interactive and collaborative site to help develop this form of artwork in new ways and to new audiences.
Herb Veng Smith
As a teenager, 'Veng' became intrigued by graffiti, and this interest quickly turned into an obsession. At the same time that this art form was emerging on the streets, Veng was also training himself to create finely detailed oil paintings, inspired by Northern Renaissance masters such as Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Wyden, and Hans Memling. And what initially began as an urge to tag the streets of New York eventually developed into a penchant for creating unique combinations of fine art aesthetics and public street art.
"The animals that inhabit my street work are drawn in painstaking detail and positioned in unusual physical pairings and environments -- ones that could not physically exist based on, among other things, their natural habitats. If these unnatural pairings can 'survive' together in my work, then perhaps people can live harmoniously with each other and with nature in order to preserve the planet for future generations."
West is a contemporary painter from Harlem, NY, who is quickly gaining recognition as one of the most promising young artists in New York. West states that his work is about "mixing opposites" and making "worlds collide". Drawing from a wide spectrum of inspirations, West's paintings deal with subjects as diverse as popular cartoon characters, religion, technology and Greek mythology. "From a more global perspective, my paintings are about tales of defeat and triumph, as well as oppression and celebration."
At 24, West has already exhibited his work in a two person exhibit at Harlem's Renaissance Fine Art Gallery entitled "Dope Art - Urban Pulse". He was recently shown in the Mickey Factz video "For the culture" (featuring Marsha Ambrosius) as well as being a "featured artist" on the The NBRHD site. A resident visual artist for A.S.A.P., West is responsible for the artwork behind A.S.A.P. Rocky's videos such as Purple Swag, Peso, and Wassup. West recently had a two person show at Tria Gallery, and his work "Mankind for Dummies" was featured on The Today Show with Matt Lauer.
It is the mission of Tria Gallery to exhibit a balance of established artists with impressive resumes and exciting young talent, showing representational and abstract work, painting, sculpture, mixed media and installations. The common denominator is that the Tria artist has a unique, authentic voice and a compelling body of work which the directors feel should be given an audience.
Opening reception for the artists Thursday, April 4, 6-8pm
531 West 25th Street, Ground Floor 5, New York
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 12:00 - 5:00