This week Ben Brown Fine Arts opens Awol Erizku’s Cosmic Drill, their third solo exhibition of Los Angeles-based artist. The exhibition follows his highly acclaimed shows with Ben Brown Fine Arts, Slow Burn (Hong Kong, 2018) and Make America Great Again (London, 2017). This exhibition will unveil an alluring new body of work that converges the mediums of painting, photography and sculpture while harnessing myriad influences including street markings, hip-hop music, basketball, dice games, and NASA telescopic data.
Cosmic Drill features large-scale mixed media paintings and a seminal marble sculpture, as well as a conceptual mix-tape produced specifically for the exhibition. The paintings are executed upon industrial aluminium surfaces directly emblazoned with photographic imagery that includes pictures of the cosmos captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and exposed parts of photographic film, taken from the 35mm camera Erizku uses to document his daily studio activities. These paintings are influenced by the neighborhood tags – graffiti artist territory-marking ‘signatures’ – seen across Los Angeles on public spaces and exteriors of business establishments. These are often ‘cleaned up’ with mismatched paint or removed with a buffing process, an aesthetic alluded to in the brightly spray-painted sections of these new works. Also included in the exhibition is the totemic sculpture Head Crack (Stack or Starve), comprising three large-scale, stacked dice rendered from Black Absolute granite, Verde Malachite marble and a Red Jasper from Madagascar, making up the colours of the pan-African flag and signifying the ‘game of luck’ that is life.
Erizku is distinguished for his unique visual language and distinctive iconography that address issues of race, identity, politics and cultural history while drawing from references spanning urban culture to the art historical canon. Cosmic Drill presents a conceptually dynamic and visually powerful new body of work, a sublime perpetuation and culmination of the artist’s achievements in photography, painting, sculpture and mixed media.
Awol Erizku, 27th January – 6th April 2023, Ben Brown Fine Art, PRIVATE VIEW Thursday 26 January, 6-8PM
About the artist
Awol Erizku b.1988 currently lives and works between Los Angeles and New York. Erizku received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The Cooper Union, NY, and a Master of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT. Erizku’s work has been exhibited at prominent institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto; and FLAGArt Foundation, New York. His photographs of cultural and creative leaders have been featured in the New Yorker, New York, GQ, and Vanity Fair, with a recent exhibition of artworks featured throughout New York City and Chicago for the Public Art Fund. MORE