Truth be told, I feel like Word To Mother never left San Francisco. Every morning, I see his tag, on my garbage bin, in the Lower Haight, from a show he had years before. Now, the London-based artist is back in SF with a new exhibition, Can't Afford To Be Broke, at White Walls.
White Walls is pleased to present Can’t Afford to be Broke, a solo exhibition from Word To Mother, featuring new works on wood along with a small run of exclusive ‘zines with hand-pulled screen printed cover. The opening reception will be Saturday, May 12th, from 7-11 pm, and the exhibition is free and open to the public for viewing through June 2nd, 2012.
London-based artist Word To Mother's newest collection of works features his distinctive visual assemblages of figures, patterns and typography painted in mixed media on wooden panels. Drawing from his own experiences in recent years, the state of the economy, and riots on his doorstep Can't Afford To Be Broke sees Word To Mother showing a sense of desperate yet hopeful pieces, using familiar references of both current and vintage popular culture icons, which evoke a sense of humor amongst more melancholic figures. Delving deeper into his exploration of color, Word to Mother expands into more primary tones alongside his usual favored natural palette. Gestural marks are layered and 'buffed' to create textured expanses of muted tones with injections of fluorescent reds and oranges appearing like small explosions of optimism amongst an overcast sky.With wooden assemblages featuring smaller studies, text pieces and collections of salvaged items next to large scale paintings, there is a balance of subtlety contrasted with Word To Mother's sense of humor and directness that can be summed-up perfectly in the "Fuck You Pay Me" Baseball bat pieces.
Can’t Afford to be Broke sees a maturity in painting and a hand-crafted feel that is ever-present in Word To Mother's pieces, resulting in what we believe is his strongest collection of works to date.
From the Artist:
“Everyone's perception of 'Broke' is different. It's all relative to our situation. In situations where celebrity riches and materialistic lifestyles are portrayed by the media, we have been conditioned to feel more valued as an individual based upon what we own, rather than our actions.
"People are emotionally broke, financially broke, and physically broke, from the structure of the society we live in. Unless we educate ourselves, work hard, and take the right risks, we won’t get anywhere. We won't get out. We will continue to be broke."
Word To Mother
Can't Afford To Be Broke
May 12 - June 2, 2012
San Francisco, California