Harman Projects is pleased to present Promise Made. Promise Kept, a solo exhibition by New York City-based artist ChrisRWK. This will be the artist's first solo presentation with the gallery.
ChrisRWK creates layered mixed media paintings drawing inspiration from cartoons, comic books and his time as a graffiti writer. These paintings feature a selection of recurring cartoon-like characters that the artist has been developing over the last two decades. Centered in this cast of characters is the eponymous robot. The most iconic image in Chris' work, the robot actually originated as a cube that began appearing in his work in the late 1990s and evolved into a television and then finally a robot around the turn of the century.
The current body of work largely features mixed media paintings made with layers of paint, ink and collage heavily embedded with messages and symbolism. These messages, both seen and unseen help to create pieces that hold a great deal of meaning to the artist. In the top left hand corner of Lost Amongst Ghosts And Shadows, pictured above, the artist has spray painted "Rosebud" the iconic line referring to the childhood sled belonging to Orson Welles' character in Citizen Kane. This text, half obscured is one of countless details that invite the viewer to take a closer look.
Promise Made. Promise Kept is a highly personal exhibition. The artist states "...the past five years have been rough. I Lost my Dad, my Mom, my Mother-in-Law, my dog, six friends and have dealt and am dealing with other things. The art is my sanity. The staying busy and moving helps me process stuff. Writing a word like forever over and over is cathartic. Once I lost those people they were gone forever but only on earth. They’ll forever be in my thoughts and my heart and the work."
Despite dealing pain and loss, the strength of love and friendship is illustrated throughout the work. Hearts as well as references to friends and family find their way into nearly every painting, reminding us to show our appreciation for those whom we hold dear.
ChrisRWK's paintings frequently cite past conceptions of popular culture embedded in his psyche's cache. This use of intertextuality also serves to offer a comfort or familiarity of sorts to the viewer, frequently revealing everyday musings and people one would pass on the street without a second thought. These images also aid the artist in the creation of a visual language comprised of his own iconographic imagery. Through the repetition of this imagery, ChrisRWK strives to familiarize his viewers with the language he has constructed. He believes that the notions within his pieces serve as a backbone to the many stories created by the viewer when he or she is experiencing the work.