On Saturday, November 19, graffiti artist POSE and photojournalist KC Ortiz will unveil Whitewash, their second exhibition at Known Gallery, and their most cohesive to date.
For POSE, Whitewash references society’s attempt to eradicate graffiti and stifle human expression. “Shortly after I started writing graffiti, Chicago took an extremely hard-line stance on its eradication, outlawing the sale of spraypaint and implementing Mayor Dayley’s Graffiti Blasters program,” POSE explains.
With this exhibition, POSE will recall a time before the buff. “I am digging into my fondest childhood memories of riding the train and seeing all the colors, letters and cartoon characters along the lines. Making these paintings has been an incredibly rich process, and it makes me thankful that no city official can eradicate my memories.”
POSE will show 15 new works in the main gallery. The work is rendered in his signature style—aggressive, hand-painted collages of pop-culture icons and ephemera—but feature deeper abstractions and new mediums. “I have six paintings on Plexiglass that were kind of an experiment,” POSE explains. “I wanted to be challenged by a new medium and process.”
For KC, Whitewash is about the people and places he photographs. “Much of the work I do covers those who have been ‘whitewashed,’ so to speak, by history and policy,” KC notes. “Specifically, the work I will be exhibiting is from West Papua and Burma. You won’t find either of those ‘nations’ on the map, as both have been essentially ‘whitewashed’ away. Burma has been renamed Myanmar by its ruling junta in order to establish the fantasy of a unified nation, and West Papua has been occupied by Indonesia since 1963 after a very controversial handover from the Dutch that was orchestrated by the United States.”
In the project room, KC will show 12 photographs of West Papua and Burma’s armed struggles. “The struggles are unified in their nature under the theme of resistance, the victimhood of whitewashing by the world at large, the beauty of their people, and the strength of the human spirit and dignity,” KC notes.
The opening reception for Whitewash takes place Saturday, November 19 at Known Gallery and is open to the public. The exhibition will be on view through December 10, 2011.