June 26-September 1 Opening Reception: Wednesday, June 26, 6pm – 8pm | Free Adam Stab’s (American) ‘Street Life Art’ is an uncomfortable acknowledgement of the experience of growing up and living on
June 26-September 1
Opening Reception: Wednesday, June 26, 6pm – 8pm | Free
Adam Stab’s (American) ‘Street Life Art’ is an uncomfortable acknowledgement of the experience of growing up and living on the streets where graffiti is made, and where others tend to avoid. This suite of artwork is inspired by the consideration of what it means to be a part of the world during this time of extreme polarization. Labels of ‘outcast’ and ‘outsider’ may be sought out and embraced by some, while adding to the already sizeable burden of those born without access to wealth, opportunity or privilege and subjugated to the lowest rungs of (American) society. This work is not pretty or vibrant as is a lot of graffiti and “street art.” It is literally trash.
Collages of trash scraps, rubbings of manhole covers, and spray paint are intensely flat up close. From afar they are full of depth, messy, and chaotic-symbols of survivalism from the street. There are shadows, and you swear you can see the pieces of trash pulling up from the surface, and as you walk closer, and you inch your face nearer, you have to stop your impulse to reach out with a fingernail to see if you can get under that one piece… But no, the surface is impossibly smooth, texturally the definition of flat. This same extreme two-dimensional quality mimics graffiti -or style- writing, Stab’s foundational technique.
When Adam Stab first moved to Baltimore in 1983 he was 13 years old, without siblings or friends, alone and a loner. He was drawn to the streets, plunging into its depths on his skateboard, into alleys so deep they became urban canyons, a webbing of traverses opening to infinite possibilities for a kid searching for himself in a concrete jungle. It was in this state of search and discovery that Stab found the “heat (he) had never known, a first full breath of passion” never inhaled before.
The vast majority of Stab’s work will likely never be seen by the “Art World” within gallery or museum or private collectors’ library walls – it is permanently and consciously installed on walls never meant to show art, never meant to be observed by those passing by and frequently passing judgement. Observing Stab’s work does not require” proper” attire, but the hiking gear of an adventurer, or the broken shoes and cast-off clothing of those without the option to be anywhere else. This work, made of the stuff of the world beneath our feet, found and repurposed detris and urban municipality industrial textures, is an inverse of graffiti, instead of creating artwork in the lost urban landscape, he has brought that landscape inside as art.
Graffiti reclaims the dismissed and forgotten urban landscape; this artwork is that landscape making claim to the world which would rather forget that it’s there.
(Friday) 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The Peale Center
225 North Holliday Street, Baltimore MD 21202