"Spray" @ Sandler Hudson GalleryGraffiti // Tuesday, 04 Sep 2012
an exhibition of new paintings and works on paper by Atlanta-based artist Alex Brewer,
better known as HENSE. Fresh off completing eye-grabbing, giant murals at the
Museum of Design Atlanta, the Canal Walk in Richmond, VA and the Virginia Museum
of Contemporary Art, Brewer brings his unique talent for creation and expression indoors.
Spray—A new series of works on paper and paintings on wood—is inspired
by Brewer’s recent works in public space. The unusual demands of outdoor
expression develop in Brewer a unique set of creative techniques that produce
arresting results. Brewer’s paintings and prints on paper also employ both enamel and
spray paint and share the layered process and playful explosion of luminous pastels
seen in hismural work. His inventive mark making includes abstract lines,
irreverent scribbles, fluid shapes and organic forms. The largest work in the
series pushes the indoor category, measuring 16 feet wide and 8 feet tall.
Labeling an artist who floats seamlessly from graffiti tags to 1,200 square foot murals
to precise fine art drawings is a foolish game. However, Brewer’s gestural splashes and
scribbles certainly bring to mind abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline,
and Willem de Kooning. For them, and for Brewer, painting is an encounter between
the artist and the canvas. The works take on a life of their own in the process.
Remarkably, that often requires re-doing, re-painting, or destroying major portions
of the painting during the course of its construction. Often several layers lie underneath
each finished product, adding literal and figurative depth to his paintings. “I generally
work on things in a very instinctive way. I paint, spray or draw shapes and marks,
then decide on what stays and what goes. I try to never be afraid to paint over something
or make changes, allowing breakthroughs to the other side. Sometimes the part
you hate the most about a painting becomes the most layered and interesting area
once you’ve destroyed it.” His process and product is a unique battle between the
beauty of fine art and the bricolage of the street.
The works that result from this unfolding do not serve as an
interpretation, but rather as a presentation—an unconditional gift,
an invitation with no destination. Brewer’s manic marks, scribbles,
drips and splashes produce an agitated tangle of shapes, symbols and
figures that offer the viewer a unique and strangely peaceful platform
for the eyes and mind. His slick stylizing may send observers on a
roller coaster ride of emotions, perturbed to peaceful, angry to
inspired, always travelling at the command of the individual’s own
subconscious collection of experiences.