2nd 18th August
What are the conditions and effects of urban acts of mark-making? How do these disparate acts work to define the spatial relationship between the individual, the gallery, the institution and the city? Tristan Kerr’s Stray is an enquiry into the meaning of the city, as he explores the spatial and textural qualities of the urban landscape.
From the slow decay and evolution of surfaces, to the plethora of gestural marks, there is a poignant interplay between consumerism and vandalism across the city street’s surfaces—a tangible tension between torn street posters, the cracking enamel of deteriorating commercial signage, the distinctive hand styles of graffiti, and what remains; the aesthetics of buffing and the remnants of its removal.
Envisaging the typographic ephemera of this rapidly developing urban landscape, Kerr reflects on the fact that our cities are by nature evolving and transforming, rather than immobile and unchanging. He seeks a new way for the public to engage with and question the barrage of text-based imagery they encounter daily, elevating everyday gestures and markings into spectacle across the picture plane, and reflecting on the dichotomies present in postmodernity.
Questioning the structural integrity of technological perfection, Kerr’s work is enriched by its inherent humanity, as a celebration of the artist’s hand brings the presence of its creator to the work. The many material, fragmented layers that form within his latest paintings are a metaphor for the multiple, fleeting histories lived out across the city surfaces on which they meditate. He heralds the traditions of sign-writing, graffiti, painting and typography, recreating such street markings in an atypical manner with mediums often reserved for the studio, such as: airbrushes, spray guns, masking techniques and high quality artist paints. In so doing, Kerr aims to shift our perceptions of the typographic elements of the city, giving rise to ‘other’ visions of what the public sphere might look like.
Tristan Kerr (born Melbourne, 1985) is an artist and typographer, interested in the revival of hand sign-painting and the exploration of typography through large scale installations and painting. Kerr has exhibited locally and throughout Europe.