Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jef Aerosol paints the walls

By Aaron Short

Rumors of their demise were greatly exaggerated.

Despite moving out of their longtime gallery space 49 Bogart Street in mid-January, Ad Hoc Art co-owners and husband and wife team Garrison and Allison Buxton are still throwing street art exhibitions in their East Williamsburg neighborhood they have called home.

After organizing a group exhibition of colorful street art-themed window displays in October on Willoughby Street in Downtown Brooklyn and participating in arts festivals in Vermont in December, Ad Hoc Art returns to Bogart Street for their first opening of the year, a solo show featuring aerosol artist Jef Aerosol, on January 29, with the show next door at Eastern District (43 Bogart Street) in Williamsburg.

For Garrison Buxton, the show represents a continuation of a movement in which Ad Hoc has promoted and sold works by artists who began or continue to create art in city streets with exhibitions in a professional gallery setting.

“It is a show we have been planning for over a year new and it is finally coming to fruition,” said Garrison. “We are excited to present a solid show of a signature artist from the dynamic movement in which we believe. Aerosol is breaking out some big art guns-o-love. Get ready.”
A French-born artist who mixes elements of stencil and collage in his work, Aerosol began creating collages and distortions of photos with a photocopier in the 1970s. In 1982, he began stenciling, and with colleagues Blek Le Rat and Miss Tic, ushered in a new wave of street art beyond the bubble lettering and graffiti of the previous decades.

According to Aerosol, he uses spray paint or sponge and brush to paint his works, though it depends on the stencil and whether it is placed indoors or outdoors.

“Some of my stencils are single layered, other have up to four layers,” said Aerosol. “The outdoor ones tend to be life size but in my canvas work I favour close ups, along with color and texture effects.”

Aerosol’s recent works feature wry political and social commentary on the immediate environment surrounding the outdoor space he paints on. A black and gray stencil of a young woman in a skirt suit bending backwards over two fire hydrant valves is both playful and raw, while other characters sit on park benches in anguish, as if having experienced a break-up.

“I have tried with pictures and words to call forth memories, emotions, feelings, joy and sadness to honor those who have fed my life with their music, words, art works, movies, ideas and ideals,” said Aerosol.

Eastern District, the contemporary exhibition space that will house Aerosol’s works, is as raw as the concrete backdrops he sometimes paints on in industrial quarters of cities like New York, London, and Paris. Part gallery, part clothing retail store, Eastern District has featured shows with a range of photography, sculpture, and interior design, as well as street art works more commonly at home in Ad Hoc.

Garrison said that it is the first of what could be many Ad Hoc collaborations at the space. Williamsburg’s art fans will no doubt be holding their breath, at least until the spray paint hits the wall.

Ad Hoc Art will present a solo show featuring Jef Aerosol on January 29 from 6-10 pm, at Eastern District (43 Bogart Street). The show will run until February 21. Admission is free. For more information, call 917-602-2153.


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