Gallery Celal in Paris recently showcased artist Smash 137 for a solo show titled “Grow Up”. Smash 137 who recently we had a conversation with in a here, has been able to successfully move from the streets into the Gallery seamlessly. This recent solo exhibition is a testament to his emerging role as a painter.
When we look at the work of Smash there is so much to appreciate, color, flow, letter structure. These adjectives might be words you would normally associate with a graffiti piece. The difference is they are describing his paintings, and the importance is they are paintings that are able to capture the spirit of graffiti. Abstract in nature yet fundamentally sound, when you look at them from a graffiti perspective.
One of the major qualms I have with the art world is its lack of understanding for our art form, or its broad definition of the term graffiti. Most galleries will use artists or the catch phrase graffiti art to hit whatever niche they think is hot. What they rarely do is take the time to understand the true essence of the artform. The small nuances and complexity of our culture is something that I would hope in the future more art historians and critics would take time to understand. They can start with the work of Smash.
When I look over the work of Smash 137 in this exhibit, it is an example of graffiti art done correctly on canvas. In a art world where artists paint about graffiti through photo-realist versions of what they think graffiti looks like. It is great to see an artist paint about graffiti using the nuances of graffiti as a starting point. Not only has he painted some amazing pieces, he has also captured the essence of what we do. The control of a fatcap, the fluid motion of a one time line. Clean and crisp. In the same manner a master establishes a pure brushstroke that captures the artists imperfect hand. The work of Smash 137 you are allowed to see our version of for example a bamboo brush and you are able to correlate this to his strokes with a spray can. The essence of the stroke is a key underlying principle not only in say Japanese ink drawings, but also in our culture as well with say a fatcap. Great work and a very solid show. Respect.