DALEK & Buff Monster Have a “Surface Fetish”

Dalek (James Marshall) and Buff Monster host their second collaborative exhibition in as many years at GR Gallery in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, sandwiched between the high art of the Bowery Museum and the hungry and homeless people of the Bowery Street. A perfect snapshot of inequality in modern New York, the neighborhood has not lost its reputation in the last 10 years as a place for those desperate city folk with no means – and those city folk who need to collect art for their homes.

Buff Monster. Surface Fetish. GR Gallery. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Here we find the escapist vocabulary of cartoons in both artist’s collections. Character-driven avatars of the street/mural/canvas painters themselves, the true emotions and predilections of Dalek’s “Space Monkey” and Buff Monster’s “Melty Misfits” are hidden under the sugary gloss of pop and sharply defined graphic styles.

Buff Monster. Happy, Double Happy and Green Darkness and Surface Fetish. GR Gallery. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The influences are sometimes overlapping, but each takes their tips from slightly opposing signposts on the commercially cartooned metroscape – scenes of cosmic war and ice cream and cleverly digital labyrinths cavorting in the clouds floating around the many mansions of Murakami and Harajuku.

Dalek. Ephemeralization. Surface Fetish. GR Gallery. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The 30 pieces, including paintings, works on paper, site-specific installations, are an afternoon’s respite from the roar of traffic and construction and grey particulate matter flying in the air outside, a serene laboratory for experimenting with new creative impulses and fantastic narratives, brightly lit. It is a combined wit, a shared attraction to a “Surface Fetish.”

Dalek. Return to the Dark Ages. Swelling in the Hole. Self Examination With Friends. Surface Fetish. GR Gallery. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dalek. Swelling in the Hole. Surface Fetish. GR Gallery. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Buff Monster. Serenity. Unity. Treaty. Surface Fetish. GR Gallery. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Buff Monster. Beheadin’ Edwin. Surface Fetish. GR Gallery. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Buff Monster. Melty Harmony #3 Surface Fetish. GR Gallery. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Buff Monster, Fragments of the Meltiverse #3. Dalek, A Week From Saturday. Surface Fetish. GR Gallery. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dalek & Buff Monster Surface Fetish. GR Gallery. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dalek and Buff Monster exhibition Surface Fetish is currently on view at GR Gallery until November 17th. Click HERE for details.

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