Maxwell Colette Gallery is excited to announce Past Future Perfect, a show of new paintings from J. Mikal Davis a.k.a. Hellbent. The Brooklyn-based Davis has achieved acclaim for his unique street art, which fuses intense colors with ornate stenciling of neoclassical patterns to create a bold, freeform geometry. This will be the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery and first show in Chicago.
Davis’ paintings for Past Future Perfect are part of his Mix Tape series. These canvases are “elaborate, abstract fields of color and movement, with compositions ranging from organized, quilt-like patterns to completely haphazard bands of weaving color”. They all have their genesis in overspray patterns on the tape Davis uses when spray painting. Strips of this tape are reconfigured into small arrangements that serve as preparatory sketches for the larger pieces. The tape sketches (or ‘demos’ as Davis calls them) are encased in liquid glass and are often displayed alongside the paintings they inspired. Davis gives the Mix Tape series paintings their names based on songs he heard during the creation process.
Past Future Perfect showcases the evolution of Davis’ style and technique on canvas. The new paintings incorporate subtle shadows that give the intersecting planes of pattern and color an added depth and identity. In some instances he allows the white of the canvas to show through and build an additional dimension. In others, darker tones dominate his pallet and the richly layered forms obscure every millimeter of the canvas ground. Davis sees these newest pieces as being “rooted in the classical tradition of abstraction and the response to music in the art making process” just as the first ventures into abstraction in the early 20th century were reactions to the music of their day. Past Future Perfect is a nod to Davis’ influences while looking ahead to the future of abstraction.