It’s no secret that street art has exploded in popularity recently, gaining momentum and long deserved recognition. We’re living in a world in which people are constantly looking for sources of inspiration and stimulation, which street art often provides in the most surprising places. Vermont artist Galen Cheney’s work melds together the painterliness of Abstract Expressionism with elements of street tags to create work that invites us into a conversation about how strivers and outsiders express their creative voice.
Just as the AE’s are often remembered for their intensity and rebelliousness ( think of AE poster boy Jackson Pollock ), so are street artists of yesterday and today. Though street art is being increasingly recognized and accepted, it’s beginnings as graffiti were often considered ugly vandalism, more likely to be white-washed or painted over rather than celebrated.
Cheney’s inclusion of graffiti-like elements against an expressionist background speaks to the evolution of both movements. Just as Abstract Expressionism was a polarizing movement ( and still is, to a degree ), so is contemporary street art. And just as AE artists gained more and more notoriety, so too, are street artists. What once was seen as rebellious and highly individualistic eventually became lauded as a major movement and an important part of the art historical canon.
Is this where “street art” is headed? What will be the new means of outsider expression?
To see more of Galen Cheney’s work, please visit his website.
Featured image is Catalyst, graphite, acrylic and oil on rag paper, 38×50. All images are via the artist’s website.