Articulate & Harmonic Symphonies of the Soul is the title of the new Retna exhibition at the recently opened Hoerle-Guggenheim Gallery in New York. The urban art of Retna has rightly been gaining many plaudits in recent times and the Hoerle-Guggenheim show will be putting on display the most important pieces of work from recent years along with a careful selection of newer art works on canvas. This new solo Retna exhibition will highlight how the artist has successfully evolved from the graffiti tag concept in urban art allowing Retna to transform into a studio artist while still keeping the graffiti culture at the heart of his works. The Hoerle-Guggenheim is a new gallery in the centre of the New York Chelsea art district that launched in November 2014 with a group show involving Retna (who was a Widewalls Artist of the Week), Peter Beard, Natvar Bhavsar, Nelson Saiers and Ronnie Wood from music legends Rolling Stones.
The Hoerle-Guggenheim show Articulate & Harmonic Symphonies of the Soul will obviously focus attention on the text based urban art of Retna for which he has become recognised, his mysterious lines of scripts that contain hidden messages and symbols have become his trademark feature. When looking at the Retna exhibition the viewer can also start to appreciate the painterly skills that combine so elegantly with the graphic elements of the works, often created with acrylic paints, enamel paint, oils and aerosols with a process that involves starting new pieces of works while also adding layers to existing works. They provide sometimes gestural backdrops with beautiful washes of colours and layers that Retna then ties together with his own personal language of hieroglyphic style lettering that the artist has developed over the course of more than twenty years. You can watch Retna talking about his work in this Retna – Art in the Streets Video. You may also enjoy exploring other artists who explore the use of calligraphy such as JonOne (Evolution to Oils), Stohead (Stohead: Now) and Japanese artist Usugrow (Usugrow in Black and White).
The Retna exhibition, Articulate & Harmonic Symphonies of the Soul, at the Hoerle-Guggenheim gallery will offer the chance to be able to view a number of important works from recent years alongside newer canvas pieces that all demonstrate the development of Retna’s text based imagery combined with emotive abstract states. While the roots of the work are deeply based in urban art, Retna is heavily influenced by calligraphy, hieroglyphics, illuminated scripts, Gothic script, Arabic and Hebrew calligraphy, Native American motifs and is known to be an admirer of the work of Saber, whom you can more about in Saber’s War on Graffiti Print, and David Choe. The canvasses of Retna display an almost poetic choreography, not least with the personalised texts that convey messages to those who understand but also in the painterly layers and brush strokes that lend themselves to deep contemplation, while Retna himself claims that all people from different cultures can find something in the artworks regardless of whether they can directly read and understand the specific texts. You may also enjoy the work of other text based artists such as A1One, Yazan Halwani and Niels Shoe Meulman (see The Unearthly Paintings article).
The Retna solo exhibition Articulate & Harmonic Symphonies of the Soul , is on view at Hoerle-Guggenheim Gallery, New York from 13th February 2015 and runs through until 12th March, 2015.
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Images courtesy of Hoerle-Guggenheim Gallery.