Word to Mother – Vertical Gallery

Vertical Gallery, Chicago’s premier urban-contemporary art gallery, is very proud to present “Let Love Lead the Way,” an exhibit of paintings by British artist Word To Mother.

Running from October 5-26, 2019, “Let Love Lead the Way” assembles paintings created over the past two years in Word To Mother’s seaside studio — a collection of work that examines the virtues of a positive mindset, celebrating moments of happiness and kindness through the lens of primitive characters inspired by 1930’s cartoons. The artist will attend the exhibit’s opening reception, taking place at Vertical’s 1016 N. Western Ave. location from 6:00-9:00 pm on Saturday, Oct. 5.

“Let Love Lead the Way” underlines the progression and maturity of WTM’s work, says Patrick Hull, Vertical Gallery owner and founder. “These paintings are very positive, very optimistic and very playful,” Hull says. “I think it’s critical for art to play a role in fostering positivity, and I know people will be able to feel the joy that Word To Mother is bringing to Chicago.”

“Let Love Lead the Way” is split into two bodies — salvaged pieces and layered paintings — featuring cartoon animals united by a shared spirit of perseverance and positivity. A range of textures and objects including rusted metal surfaces and vintage wooden patinas (some in WTM’s personal collection since 2004) provide the perfect backdrop for the artist’s menagerie of characters, which he executes in a limited palette with minimal use of gold leaf. Gestural marks and layers of illustrations form the surfaces of the contrasting pieces, with WTM’s singular line work exploring the optimism and joy that the character forms express.

Born and raised in an English seaside town, Word To Mother studied illustration in art school, from there expanding into graffiti and tattoo art — pursuits that profoundly shaped his latter-day mixed-media work, which juxtaposes signature flourishes like hand-drawn personal sentiments and tight sign-written letters evoking vintage typography. In addition to a previous Vertical Gallery solo show, 2017’s “Forgot How to Fly,” WTM has exhibited in galleries in London, San Francisco and Dubai.

Word To Mother
“Let Love Lead The Way”
October 5- 26, 2019
Opening reception with the artist: Saturday, October 5, 6:00-9:00pm

Alex Face, MUEBON Make U.S. Debut with Vertical Gallery’s ‘Mythical Creatures’

Vertical Gallery, Chicago’s premier urban-contemporary art gallery, is very proud to present “Mythical Creatures,” the first-ever U.S. showing of Alex Face and MUEBON, two of Asia’s most acclaimed and incisive street artists.

“Mythical Creatures,” which runs from August 10-31, 2019, spotlights all-new works from Alex Face and MUEBON, both featured within the famed Souled Out Studios collective of artists. Alex Face and MUEBON will attend the “Mythical Creatures” opening reception, taking place at Vertical’s 1016 N. Western Ave. location from 6:00-9:00 pm on Saturday, Aug. 10.

“Alex Face and MUEBON are going to introduce people to a different style of street art than they’ve seen before,” said Patrick Hull, Vertical Gallery owner and founder. “These are two of the biggest Asian street artists — both are character-based, and there’s deep meaning in the messages they’re getting across, so pairing them is a natural fit. We’re thrilled to host their U.S. debut exhibition.”

Thailand native Alex Face (born Patcharapol Tangruen) is best known for his signature character Mardi, a three-eyed child often presented in a fuzzy rabbit costume. Inspired by the artist’s own young daughter, Mardi is by turns world-weary and wry, challenging viewers to consider the legacy that our children will inherit as well as what the future holds for successive generations. Long a fixture across the Bangkok cityscape and the Thai countryside, Mardi now adorns walls in locations including Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, Jakarta, Oslo, Amsterdam and Paris — and soon, Chicago.

Alex Face discovered American graffiti art while studying fine arts at Bangkok’s King Mongktut University Institute of Technology, soon acquiring two cans of spray paint — one red, the other white — which he put to creative use on his own car. At first he painted his name, then moved on to depicting his face, a flourish that inspired the Alex Face moniker. His work has since gained recognition across the globe: in 2018, he occupied the Bank of Thailand Learning Center during the first Bangkok Art Biennale, and the following year, he exhibited in the Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy. Alex Face has also collaborated with high-profile brands like COACH and Mercedes Benz.

Bangkok-based MUEBON (real name: classified) is renowned for biting social commentary on subjects spanning from wealth disparity to environmental activism to the pervasive influence of contemporary media — messages he delivers via his rotating cast of colorful characters, including a flightless cartoon bird named PUKRUK and Mr. TV, possessor of a television screen face. MUEBON is perhaps most synonymous with his Mickey Mouse-inspired skull stickers and wheatpastes, memento mori urging viewers to expel their feelings of anger, frustration and hopelessness in favor of embracing acceptance and finding inner peace.

A product of the first generation of Thai street artists, MUEBON has played a pivotal role in propelling the craft to notoriety and respect across his homeland — and beyond. Raised in the slums of Thonburi, MUEBON (an alias translating to “fidgety hands”) grew up obsessed with Japanese manga. He began his graffiti art career as a teen, often painting under the cover of darkness to avoid the local police, and defied the odds to earn a fine arts degree, in 2005 graduating with honors from the Rajamangala Institute of Technology. While street art remains MUEBON’s passion, he also has exhibited paintings and sculptures in galleries across Southeast Asia, Australia, Japan and Moscow, and in 2018 he partnered with luxury label Hermès.

‘’For over 10 years I’ve seen both MUEBON and Alex Face paint tirelessly on the streets, day in and day out, with incredibly recognizable styles,” said Chris Bowden, co-founder of Souled Out Studios. “Both artists don’t just have borderless skill with a spray can, but also with oils, watercolor, sculpture and print, making their translation into the gallery seamless.”

Alex Face and MUEBON
Mythical Creatures
August 10-31, 2019
Opening reception with artists, Saturday, August 10th, 6:00-9:00pm
Vertical Gallery, 1016 N. Western Ave., Chicago

Mau Mau returns to Vertical Gallery with first-ever U.S. solo art show

Mau Mau
“Bombing walls and painting bridges”
July 13 – August 3, 2019
Opening reception: Saturday, July 13, 6:00 – 9:00 pm.
Vertical Gallery, 1016 N Western Ave., Chicago

Vertical Gallery, Chicago’s premier urban-contemporary art gallery, is very proud to present British urban graffiti artist Mau Mau’s first U.S. solo exhibition “Bombing walls and painting bridges,” running from July 13 through August 3, 2019.

“Bombing walls and painting bridges” features the newest work from Mau Mau, who made his Vertical Gallery debut in mid-2017 with the collaborative exhibit “Foreign Policy,” co-headlined by his coconspirator Beejoir. Mau Mau will attend the “Bombing walls and painting bridges” opening reception, taking place at Vertical’s 1016 N. Western Ave. location from 6:00-9:00 pm on Saturday, July 13.

Mau Mau brings to Vertical a wry, colorful approach that is both refreshingly simple and powerfully sophisticated. Often his work comments on the social and political forces shaping life in the 21st century, with a recurring focus on environmental themes, and frequently features his signature red fox character — a mischievous symbol of survival and street savvy.

“There is profound meaning behind the work that Mau Mau is doing, but it’s done in a very fun, whimsical way that everyone can understand and appreciate. Nobody else is doing it the way he’s doing it,” said Patrick Hull, Vertical Gallery owner and founder. “He is on the brink of breaking through as a major international artist, and this show is a clear evolution of his work. I truly believe Mau Mau will be a household name.”

A product of coastal North Devon and its thriving surf culture, Mau Mau takes his name from a four-month sojourn to Ghana during the early 1990s: unable to pronounce his birth name, the Rastafarians of the Twelve Tribes temple dubbed him “Mau Mau,” an alias that has since graced everything from shipwrecks to surfboards to city walls across locations as far flung as Jamaica, Australia, Egypt and Thailand. In addition to sold-out solo exhibitions in the U.K., Japan and Thailand, Mau Mau has completed projects for organizations including Greenpeace, Surfers Against Sewage and the Glastonbury Festival. He has also created animated music videos for recording artists including The Herbaliser, Dizzee Rascal and DJ Skitz, and teamed with independent record labels like Ninja Tune and Lowlife Records.

Vertical Gallery
1016 N. Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
773.697.3846
www.verticalgallery.com

6-Year Anniversary Group Show at Vertical Gallery

April 6 – 27, 2019
Opening reception, Saturday, April 6th, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Vertical Gallery, 1016 N Western Ave., Chicago

Vertical Gallery, Chicago’s premier urban-contemporary art gallery, is thrilled to present a special exhibition celebrating their 6-year anniversary. The show will feature over 40 artists – local, national & international – from 14 different countries with artistic styles that have shaped the gallery’s programming over the years. The exhibition runs April 6 – 27, with an opening reception on Saturday, April 6th, 6:00-9:00pm.

Artists include:

Alex Senna (BR)
Amose (FR)
Andreas Englund (SE)
Andrew Watch (CA)
Anthony Lister (AU)
Beejoir (TH)
Ben Eine (UK)
Ben Frost (AU)
Ben Slow (UK)
Brad Novak (NZ)
Brandon Boyd (US)
Candice Tripp (UK)
Chad Hasegawa (US)
Christopher Cosnowski (US)
Chris Cunningham (UK)
CLS (US)
Collin van der Sluijs (NL)
Deih (ES)
Dot Dot Dot (NO)
Fourhundred ML (CA)
Grant William Thye (US)
Hebru Brantley (US)
Herakut (DE)
James Thistlethwaite (UK)
Jas Petersen (US)
Joseph Renda Jr. (US)
Kayla Mahaffey (US)
LIE (US)
Martin Whatson (NO)
Mau Mau (UK)
Merlot (US)
Merry James (US)
Philip Bosmans (BE)
Pipsqueak Was Here!!! (NL)
Pizza in the Rain (US)
Pure Evil (UK)
RYCA (UK)
Sergio Farfan (US)
Shark Toof (US)
Steve Seeley (US)
TRUST iCON (UK)
XOOOOX (DE)

Since opening their doors at 1016 N. Western Avenue in 2013, Vertical Gallery has presented ambitious exhibitions with work influenced by street art, urban environments, graffiti, pop culture, graphic design and illustration. With 10 to 12 group and solo shows per year, plus participation in major international art fairs, Vertical Gallery has featured over 300 different artists from around the world in their exhibitions.

Vertical Gallery
1016 N. Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
773.697.3846
www.verticalgallery.com

Jillian Evelyn: It’s About Time

Vertical Gallery is thrilled to present a solo show of new work by Los Angeles-based painter Jillian Evelyn. ‘It’s About Time’ will be exhibited at Line Dot from March 23rd until April 20th, with an artist reception on opening night from 6:00-9:00pm.

‘It’s About Time’ investigates temporal experience from a female perspective, delving into the near-obsessive nature of women’s relationship with time. The increasingly rapid pace of our technology-driven world and the feminist reckoning of the ‘Time’s Up’ movement lend a particular relevance to the subject, but Jillian Evelyn’s panoptic lens extends beyond the current moment and is rooted in her own experience. Evelyn created the artwork for this exhibition as a way to confront and to process her personal and cultural observations of women’s relationship to time. She traces the burgeoning complexity of this relationship to the transition from childhood to womanhood and the cyclical rhythm that slowly develops therein. Now in her thirties, the artist is discovering a new set of challenges that women face around aging and childbearing. Reflecting society’s limited scope of female value centered on unrealistic expectations of physical appearance and motherhood, women are often left feeling that their worth diminishes as they age.

‘It’s About Time’ combats these dominant cultural narratives and offers an unapologetic alternative that embraces female experience in all its messy complexity. In these new paintings, Evelyn plays with texture and linework to novel effect, resulting in a fresh take on the signature style of her previous pieces. Reflecting on this creative process, Evelyn articulates that “it felt suitable to utilize this time to grow as an artist rather than fear change and the idea that my time as an artist will come to an end.”

Born in the midwest and currently living in Los Angeles, Jillian Evelyn is a highly accomplished painter, sculptor, illustrator and printmaker. Her practice balances challenging conceptual themes that tackle the darker sides of modern life with a brightly-colored pop aesthetic. In addition to gallery shows across the US, her work has been featured in Juxtapoz, Vice, CONTEXT Art Miami, and other major fairs and publications.

Jillian Evelyn: It’s About Time
March 23 – April 20, 2019
Opening reception with the artist on Saturday, March 23rd 6:00-9:00pm

Vertical Gallery
1016 N. Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
773.697.3846
www.verticalgallery.com