current CHG show August 6 - September 10, 2022 D*Face Painting Over The Cracks D* Face INFO & PRESSSEE SHOW
D*Face
Painting Over The Cracks
August 6 - September 10, 2022


The show will be on the website soon. In the meantime, you can check out the online preview below:

Preview link: https://coreyhelfordgallery.smugmug.com/DFACE2022

Password: dface

 

 


MAIN GALLERY

Download the PDF above for the press release


ARTIST STATEMENT:

D*Face - Painting Over The Cracks

Yes yes, I’m aware the actual expression is to “paper over the cracks” but for obvious reasons, painting felt more appropriate to me and to this show - with nearly one hundred murals under my belt, I’ve spent my fair share of time painting over real cracks in real walls. If you haven’t heard the expression before, it essentially refers to the act of ignoring or hiding an issue in both the literal and metaphorical sense - it’s putting on a brave face and pretending that “the issue” doesn’t really exist. After living through an unprecedented, historical moment in time that saw us globally locked down as a result of the pandemic, I think we’ve witnessed our fair share of “cracks” appearing across society and culture alike, some fresh, some older, and some deeper than before. In many of these cases it felt like the approach was to apply a big dollop of metaphorical paint to cover them up, only for the cracks to reappear slightly worse further down the line. This show and body of work is a collection of my own personal observations and feelings from the last couple of years. My intention is not a love letter to what we have lost and nor is it a celebration of the change that was catalysed by the pandemic, because, let’s face it, there’s been good and bad in both. Rather, it’s a visual acknowledgment of the altered society in which we now find ourselves and which we must strive to make better.

Space One:

All people should be able to take peaceful action and make their voice heard safely and without repercussions. To me it feels like one of the most basic human rights and the prospect of having it taken away seems very Orwellian. That right to protest however, has never been under as much threat as it is today. Groups that face discrimination or marginalization are often at the heart of protest and are therefore most targeted by this repression and misrepresentation. The collective fear of not being heard by the powers that be seems to have grown exponentially and I wanted to dedicate a space to this cause, as it feels to me to be one of the biggest challenges of the pandemic-era and something that deserved its own voice within the show.

I wanted to create some sense of claustrophobia within the space, a feeling of harsh, sterile restriction, both physical and mental. The lack of human depiction behind the picket signs and riot gear was intended not only as a blank canvas to the many causes that deserve the right to peaceful protest, but also to highlight the facade of police vs. protester. I’ve often thought about how if you take away the signs, the shields, and the batons, you’re left with no more than a crowd of people, un-divided by their uniform and perceived duty. How many of those people share the same opinions, the same outlook on life? It’s hard to say with a riot proof helmet on your head or with your face held against the bonnet of a police car.

Space Two:

Space Two is dedicated to relationships, not just in the romantic sense but also to ourselves - our memories, things, and experiences and how they’ve changed over the course of the last two years. Whether by choice or necessity, the act of seeing our loved ones through the lens of a camera phone, instead of face-to-face, has become second nature to many, as we rely more heavily on the limits defined by technology to keep us connected. Through the likes of FaceTime and Zoom, it has fast become a world full of visual stimulation, gradually lacking physical interaction, as it ebbs away, fading like a fond memory. When left to our own devices on the other hand (pun intended), we seem to have slipped further down the rabbit hole of nostalgia, seeking the comfort of the familiar, far away from pandemic pandemonium. In both cases, it seems as if we’ve traded a grasp of reality in favour of straight forward simplicity. We choose to look at what our screens show us rather than to look up at the big-bad post-lockdown world in which we find ourselves.

My first thought when head-scratching over how best to depict our need for comfort and escape from reality was cinema and the golden era of Hollywood. For me personally, that represented a big part of my own childhood, watching classic films through rose-tinted glasses and idolising the America I saw through the eyes of the camera. Unlike the rare occasion I got to go to the cinema as a kid though, as a result of the combined power of a lockdown and unlimited Netflix consumption, digital entertainment hit an all-time high in 2020. More than ever, we were allowed to exist in alternate realities which could be endlessly rewatched and revisited - never letting us down because we know how they start and end. I wanted to play on this expectation of predictability in the show by twisting some of Hollywood’s most iconic creations - defacing and reimagining the images we think we know and trying to break that cycle of comfortable, knowable nostalgia. Are the classics really as good as we hold them up to be or is it time to take off the rose-tints for a better look? I’m not trying to say we should all swear-off cinema or that the classics aren’t classics for a reason, but just once in a while, it’s good to take a peek through the cracks of the real world.

To further this idea, I also began to explore a similar nostalgia within my own career. And speaking of cracks, it was in part because I broke my wrist while unwisely trying to skateboard that I found myself unable to paint at the start of this year. As a result of that, I was forced to adapt for awhile, kind of like Monet when he began to lose his sight and began to explore a fresh pallet. I chose to return to my somewhat overflowing back-catalogue of stickers. Partly inspired by years of collecting photos of my own half-torn stickers in the street, I found that by ripping up fresh stickers and collaging them within the pages of a sketchbook, I was finding new satisfaction in images that I had grown overly used to. This act of tearing up, sticking down, peeling back, and rearranging created this odd and kind of ironic sense of rejuvenation, bringing new energy to an aspect of my career that has been second nature for pretty much two decades. So weirdly satisfying was the result of this, that once my wrist had recovered, I actually decided to push the process one step further by painting some of the highlights on a larger-than-life scale and twisting the connection to the original still further. It is this occasional act of stepping outside the usual boundaries, questioning learned patterns and relationships that run throughout the body of work, and I think it’s needed now more than ever - just a little jolt of something different to snap us out of post-covid cruise control.











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