When I first saw these images, I can’t say that I immediately identified the works as street art at all. Maybe because I grew up with it (part of every day life if you grew up in the Bronx during the 80s) and it’s part of the fabric of my being. Except that during my travels on the D train, graffiti was not quite as beautiful. Well, then again, I suppose it depends on who you ask. I also didn’t identify these works as portraits either. Maybe because in my head a portrait (in the literal sense) would have the eyes exposed, engaging the viewer into the soul of the subject. Instead, the anonymity of the women juxtaposed with abstract forms and tags took me to the urban landscapes of my childhood, where eastern and western cultures co-existed into its own sub-culture that was just a normal part of life. The large scale pieces reminded me of the bills I would see on Canal and Delancey covered in tags and tattered – Exposing layers of glued paper during the times of a grittier New York. In a gallery setting, it’s amazing to see the beauty of it for what it is and really experience the stories told. I also realized that my years spent studying art history has caused a problem in my vision – I feel compelled to “identify.” Art is made so that the viewer can feel, recall and find their own way through the works, which is what Hush has set out to do by covering the eyes of the women. Doing this, takes away our immediate need to engage with the subject and instead leads our eyes throughout the entire canvas – It opens up an entirely different dialogue focusing on exploration and discovery.
If you want to check out the show, it’s hanging at Corey Helford from May 18 – June 15, 2013
(Pics are a combination of my own and Charm School)