Five years ago, UK street artist Paul Insect entered into the big leagues when Damien Hirst bought out an entire exhibition of his works.
According to Arrested Motion, Hirst has some high praise for the color-happy figure, saying "I can’t pretend I’m not in love with Paul Insect a little bit, but not in a gay way." (Sigh...) As much as Mr. Hirst's offensive statement makes our skin crawl, we don't have anything but praise for Insect as we eagerly await his highly anticipated New York debut.
Entitled "Out of Chaos," the upcoming exhibition at Opera Gallery explodes with colorful mashups of tradition, rupture, violence, hope and beauty. In "Madonna," a green-faced deity looks somewhere between a Baldessari dot painting and an artistic interpretation of Shrek. And yet even with kid-friendly palette and cartoonish grotesqueness, the pain in the Madonna's eyes is tangible as a single tear rolls down her emerald cheek. Another piece, entitled, "Child Worker" is a Banksy-ish stencil work depicting a young child in black-and-white, carrying the McDonalds logo on its back. Paint drips off the fading boy as he trudges along the city streets, wearing the golden arches that have come to embody the power of the American corporation.
We doubt Insect's inauguration into the NY gallery scene will disrupt his allegiance to the streets, be they in London or a separation wall in Palestine. As street art collaboration Faille told Opera Gallery, "Paul's work continues to evolve -- proving he can push the boundaries of portraiture while still dancing with rats at night."
Paul Insect's "Out of Chaos" will open November 29 at Opera Gallery in New York.