Preview: Mint & Serf: Support, Therapy, and Instability Exhibition at Bleecker Street Arts Club
Bleecker Street Arts Club is pleased to present Support, Therapy and Instability, new paintings by the artists Mint&Serf. Combining technique learned from their graffiti predecessors with raw rebellious intuition, these paintings successfully bring the street to the canvas, a context to the action. “Working within the parameters of contemporary painting, the duo has used their history with street art and graffiti-writing to build a new portal of painting, a new surface, space and vision, that has not yet been explored,” says Laura Bloom, Director of Sandra Gering, Inc. Layered with paint, markers, and paper, the canvas is a never-ending sea of abstractly expressed thoughts and gestures. The dizzying result, described as anguished, dark, and criminal, can evoke conflicted reactions in the viewer. Carlo McCormick noted, “Perhaps they represent one of those dangerous moments where there is a true break in the hegemony of good taste and sensible reasoning. Somewhere in the lineage between Marcel Duchamp submitting a urinal as art and Jackson Pollock peeing on a canvas…”
For their show at Bleecker Street Arts Club, Mint&Serf have taken their graffiti practice inside the studio and applied the same gestural expression that they wildly employ out in the streets directly to canvases. The result is a lush and crude composition, chaotic and thrilling. Cat Marnell wrote, “What Mint&Serf … have accomplished with these pieces…so layered after months and months of tag upon tag upon tag…is to confine the unconfined: the spirit of vandalism, the energy and electricity of New York City graffiti.”
Born in Moscow and Brooklyn, respectively, Mint and Serf (a.k.a. The Mirf) are Mikhail Sokovikov and Jason Aaron Wall. After meeting in 1997, the duo took to the streets of New York City, which has served as an infinite canvas for their creative vision. After moving into their larger Broadway Chapter studio in December 2011, Mint&Serf were able to realize these major collaborative works as visiting graffiti writers such as Jacuzzi Chris and Pablo Power were invited to hang out and tag the canvases. Their emphasis on team collaboration forms a major aspect of their practice and separates them from their contemporaries in this field. Marnell writes, “It was just like graffiti on the city walls, or in seedy cocaine bathrooms at the bars graffiti writers hone in on: ever-evolving, alive, and essentially unconfined.”
Mint&Serf have been featured in The New York Post, Interview Magazine, Huffington Post, Dossier Journal, Daily Mail, VICE, Paper, Gothamist and Blackbook. Their book “Support, Therapy, and Instability” was published in 2013 with essays by Carlo McCormick and Cat Marnell.
All Photography: Vito Badamo