Logan Hicks‘ three man show with Anthony Lister and Michael Kalish opened last week at Opera Gallery’s New York City location. Yasmin Bilbeisi follows up on our preview and explores Logan’s subterranean subway systems as well as the rest of the show in a special report for Hi Fructose, below.
The subterranean circuitry of New York’s subway is not a sight I relish, so it was with some hesitation that I approached Logan Hick’s photo realistic stenciled depictions of it. Bereft of the flora and fauna that usually carpet the tracks of the subway and the menacing screeches of trains pulling in, Hicks’ underground was far more palatable. Fresh, slick, and sterile best describe Hick’s underworld. For the first time, I felt some empathy for the giant industrial intestines that are forcibly trampled by masses of people daily.
The precise architectural lines and structured rigidity of Hicks’ work was in sharp contrast to the works by Anthony Lister, displayed further back in the gallery. Lister also uses spray paint, but with a much lackadaisical approach. The result: languid interpretations of villains and heroes. Banana peel yellow the color of choice for many of these portraits.
Michael Kalish, like most of us, seemingly has deeply sedimented transportation resentments, his target: the car. Personalized number plates are an abomination almost as universally detested at the subway (unless you are 51NGL3 or you can’t contain your LV4PL8TZ). Acting out the fantasy that anyone stuck in traffic has had as a studio practice, Kalish hammers away at license plates(and other auto parts) to create unexpected and/or organic shapes. Marilyn Monroe’s face being one, the Statue of Liberty another.
A huge turnout is not such a good thing in the subterranean world portrayed by Logan Hicks. Fortunately, a packed art opening does not conjure the same hysterical aggression that a packed train platform does. The attending crowd was a dichotomous split between those who clearly follow or make street art and those who may be keen on buying some “domesticated” street art. Amidst the throngs of patrons, was Eric Allouche, director of the Opera Gallery NY. Allouche is the catalyst behind the steady stream of street art being shown at Opera. Prune Vidal, who runs the gallery with Allouche, was close by. She was busy acquainting patrons with the art/artists and overseeing the running of the nightl– yet she still was able to moonlight as an event photographer (arousing some suspicion on my part that she may have originated in a Lister superhero canvas).
The hostile cityscapes adorning the walls behind them could not be more contradictory to the energy of those running gallery and the guests attending the private view. The next time I’m detained 500ft below the ground,it will be hard not to gaze upwards and imagine an art opening springing to life, inspired by the drudgery of shuffling through the doldrums of the underground.
Photography by David Martinez