About the Exhibition:
Jan Kalab’s new series of work “Perspective of clouds” is a culmination of decades of progression as an artist. As much as the work has evolved and transformed to simple and abstract forms, the artist himself also has also traveled this path of evolution from graffiti artist, being the first graffiti artist to graduate from the Academy of Fine arts of Prague a privilege and accomplishment in itself. But like so many graffiti artists before him, he was already a graduate of the streets and learned a different visual language and way of communicating within the streets before attending school. The merging of these two schools has allowed the artist to effectively communicate bilingually, as I like to say. Visually and conceptually, Jan is able to talk the language of the street in the studio perfectly. With his first solo exhibition of work in California at San Francisco’s Mirus Gallery, the artist showcases a new series of work for the first time.
This new series of work loosely titled the Cloud Paintings showcase similar traits as past work but as the artist always does creates a new dynamic approach to this series. “Perspective of Clouds” features a series of circular paintings that represent more than one particular concept or aesthetic. Each canvas is uniquely made with a specific shape painted with acrylic gradients referencing the impossible color fades of the sky, the encapsulation of not only the sky but a moment of landscape. Each work is titled by a time of day where the artist envisions or witnesses this color gradient. The shape of each work can be seen as circle, or dot, or cloud each is part of graffiti’s backgrounds and fill ins for letters, this is the duality in Jan’s work. Traditional graffiti elements inspire minimal and effective works of art when focused upon and taken into a new space of the studio and gallery.
An important aspect of the series is one the artist feels deeply connected to as includes portion of his past street/graffiti work that he is able to incorporate into the series. The participatory part of the work brings his studio paintings into the public sphere. The artist initially started to take his work into the streets in 2014 for a NYC exhibition. Each painting is photographed in a location the artist has envisioned and he chooses a random person in the street to help him in this process. “I choose the location, then I bring a particular painting and wait for a stranger who I ask for assistance in holding the painting in the middle of the street. It’s a way to connect with the city and meet various people, understand the situation at the location. In fact, it is the very same logic as doing graffiti, you come to the city, you go around and check the spots, you find the best time to do the action, you need some luck to make it happen, you use the city as a background for your piece. it represents uniqueness in the middle of an impersonal city / world. inside gallery piece comes out”. This brings the artist full circle in capturing both worlds in one, establishing a practice in art that allows him to give homage to his time as a graffiti artist.