April 10, 2014

Barry McGee, Isaac Tin Wei Lin and Dan Murphy "Department of Neighborhood Services" at Fleisher/Ollman Gallery

Department of Neighborhood Services

April 11 - June 7, 2014

Isaac Tin Wei Lin
Barry McGee
Dan Murphy

Reception: Friday, April 11, 6-8PM

Fleisher/Ollman is pleased to announce Department of Neighborhood Services, a three-person exhibition with Isaac Tin Wei Lin, Dan Murphy (both live and work in Philadelphia), and Barry McGee (lives and works in San Francisco). The artists have been familiar with one another's work for over a decade, having shown or collaborated together in a number of contexts including exhibitions, publications, and in the public realm. All have an interest in graffiti through direct involvement in marking outdoor surfaces, documenting it photographically, respecting its history and traditions, and incorporating graffiti's energy and sensibility into their work.

Using paint and ink, Isaac Tin Wei Lin (b. 1976) overlays calligraphic forms on a variety of materials, including enlarged family photographs, vinyl tarps, rain ponchos, shirts, walls, panels, and found paper. Characters from cats to ghosts, rendered in a comic style, appear both in delicate gouaches and larger-than-life cut-outs, often covered in pattern themselves. Lin's brushwork--a kind of graffiti of the imagination where form trumps identifiable lettering--springs like benevolent viruses or kudzu vines covering anything within reach. Lin often installs his art on similarly painted walls, creating overwhelming, buzzing environments where no surface is safe from visual cacophony.

Dan Murphy (b. 1975) has been a keen observer of the urban environment through many years of graffiti writing, and as a partner (with Anthony Smyrski) in the creative platform Megawords. For Department of Neighborhood Services, Murphy erodes and alters his photographs of blighted neighborhoods, jerry-rigged architecture, and graffiti vandals in action, by photocopying images and mounting them to plexiglass--an interesting frisson of the decrepit and the slick. Murphy's experience as a professional sign painter (working at Steve Powers' ICY Signs) also shines through in a group of color vinyl abstractions adhered to opaque plastic, conjuring the low-budget advertising of bygone eras.

Barry McGee (b. 1966) has inhabited the two distinct worlds of graffiti and gallery-based art for over two decades, advocating a kind of graffiti that even the art world does not like: tags inscribed illicitly on urban surfaces. While he demands a return to hardcore graffiti vandalism kept safely in the streets where it belongs, in his gallery art McGee chooses to focus less on this non-aestheticized type of graffiti than on the context of its production, by considering how it exists in the urban environment. McGee will present a large-scale, multiple-panel painting featuring Op art abstraction, geometric shapes, and words rendered in a variety of letterforms; a signature wall cluster including photographs of urban desolation, graffiti documentation, and the artist's delicate drawings of faces and figures; and, finally, a sampling of found-object sculpture transformed into polychromed vessels.

Barry McGee's work appears in Department of Neighborhood Services courtesy of Ratio 3, San Francisco.

1216 Arch Street, 5A
Philadelphia, PA 19107
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