This November, Maxwell Colette Gallery presents Support, Therapy and Instability, a show of new paintings from New York City based graffiti writers Mint & Serf. This will be the artists’ Chicago debut and will showcase their large-scale works on canvas.
Mint & Serf make visceral artwork that challenges the tenuous relationship between graffiti and contemporary art. In a scene dominated by artists who polish and objectify graffiti to make it palatable for consumption, Mint & Serf are a visually dangerous anomaly. Their paintings explore graffiti reduced down to it’s most primal and weaponized form. The work is raw and fearless, imbued with a savage elegance and narcotic sheen.
For Mint & Serf the creative process is one of collaboration occasionally involving other members of their crew (the Peter Pan Posse or PPP). In these instances the canvases are worked over many late night sessions in the studio, with successive layers building organically the way they would on the street. In other cases the artists wield a tight curatorial control over the creation process; combining just the right amount of torn paper and scrawl to create dark, powerful work that is more lyrical.
Mint & Serf’s paintings have been described as feeling like sections of wall ripped from a seedy dive-bar bathroom or an abandoned property. There is a palpable authenticity to this work; a gritty realness that is often missing from graffiti-based fine art. These layers of paint, ink and paper contain fragmented tags and phrases that are not merely gestures chosen for their decorative value. At the core these are paintings rooted in the action of graffiti rather than simply the aesthetic.