There’s not yet been much critical writing published about this century’s newly prevalent Urban Art. Â Yet. Â The genre has been gaining respect in recent years because its most important artists do much much more than tag walls and cars, and cannot be dismissed as being simplistic mark-makers. Â With their work they are tackling social, political and environmental issues in the very backyards of those places that they hope to change, and they are doing it with intelligence and powerful imagery that has always made waves in the arts.
One such artist is Stephan Doitschinoff (aka Calma) whose work is rife with symbols and text that explore the depths of the human condition in a multitude of ways. Â Stephan’s art concepts originate from his explorations of religion and faith, and address sociopolitical issues that are not only prevalent in his home base of Brazil, but in the world-wide. Â He indeed paints much of his work on city walls, however his installations in existing or specially-created religious structures transcend the American definition of simple Urban or Street Art by addressing society from its spiritual nodes.
If you will be in New York this month, his newest works will be on view at Jonathan Levine Gallery starting tonight, December 10th, 2011, in an exhibit entitled Novo Asceticismo (New Asceticsm). To quote the gallery’s press release:
InÂ Novo Asceticismo (New Asceticsm), [Stephan Doitschinoff] reflects on the sacrifice and deprivation necessary for modern man to live purely, without feeling alienated or falling into vices, mental traps and social conditioning of contemporary society. He explores concepts constituting new forms of practicing austerity in regards to self-discipline in manners of sexuality and the body as well as contemporary Shamanism. The work is permeated by themes of Asceticsm, redefined to reflect political issues of our times.
While Calma’s art works well in any environment, I’m a little skeptical that its impact will be the same in a commercial white box as on the streets of Brazil. Â That’s not to say that I won’t be moved by this exhibition. Â Don’t miss it!