The New York-based graffiti artists Mint and Serf have been bombing the five boroughs for the better part of a decade now, laying their hand to walls both public and private. But having caught the attention of the police and the design public both (they’ve done plenty of commissioned, branded artwork) the duo is searching to take their work to the gallery level.
Tonight, Mint and Serf debut a new exhibition of paintings two years in the works, called “Support, Therapy and Instability,” in conjunction with a new art book the duo is releasing of the same name. Consisting of a dozen paintings showing at the Bleecker Street Arts Club, the show takes their intensely gestural practice of graffiti writing and intensifies it on the canvas, coming up with something nearly overwhelming in its complexity.
The works are incredibly layered compositions that look slapdash on first look but centrifuge with purpose upon closer examination. Each canvas tells a story of obsessive creativity and late nights, where the artists invited their friends through the studio to add their own touch to the pieces. (Namely, Pablo Power and Jacuzzi Chris lent their hand to the project.) The works showing are the result of monomania, a practice of obsessive formation put to canvas and paper and ink. The canvases contain jokes, both inside and outside, from references to the Occupy movement, to references to friends, to oblique social references such as “flood cities.” They are instinctual and yet refined, at no loss for intense dissection from front to back, as the layers seem to be infinite, peeling from their surface as if constantly striving to reveal more.
Tonight marks the opening reception for the show, one that sources close to the artists say may be dogged by as much as police officers, due to overwhelming demand to see the show, as well as the presence of known graffiti artists. Bleecker Street Arts Club is at 305 Bleecker Street. The show runs through to February 22.
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