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BLO (FRANCE) / 500 years

Small Cowper Madonna
© Tortoiseshell Gallery and BLO (FRANCE), Sydney 2020
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BLO (FRANCE)

Small Cowper Madonna

2017
oil on canvas
60 x 45 cm

BLO (FRANCE)

Although rooted in traditional graffiti in both material and composition, BLO’s current practice displays an acute sense of awareness in moving from an urban landscape to gallery spaces--not just a shift in medium, but one of context, audience and exposure. What for many is a difficult space to negotiate, it is within this quiet rift that BLO’s paintings breathe. BLO’s involvement with graffiti stems back to his past in Lyon, France, where initially, his work was driven by not only the raw necessity to paint, but also to vandalise or in a sense, destroy. He uses creativity as a device to question, invert or pervert aspects of daily life. There is a recognisable speed of the hand, looseness of line, as well as composition and materials (the frequent use of spray paint and ink marker) that directly draw from traditional graffiti. BLO is still actively working in urban settings, but is moving away from letter styles and illustrative characters. His current street work has become more figurative, drawing from religious imagery, sex, death, and classical painting. Within the exploration of this subject matter another parallel to graffiti is conceptualised--the assertion of power by actively defacing or reappropriating common images. This difference in context between the street and in the studio does not divide the work, but creates a visual dependency - a mutual relationship that ultimately strengthens both parts of his practice

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