On September 29th RexRomae Gallery will be presenting “REVIVE”, a pop-up exhibition in Los Angeles with Norwegian stencil artist Martin Whatson, his first in the city of angels.

“REVIVE” will showcase a completely new body of work and represents the artist’s largest and biggest exhibition to date with several installations and paintings never exhibited before.

There is no doubt that Martin Whatson’s work is instantly recognisable. Working primarily as a stencil artist over the past ten years, Whatson uses explosive colour against gray-scale backgrounds to challenge ideas of perception, possibility and imagination in the urban environment. His work is to be found all around the globe and megalopolis like London, Paris, New-York, Las Vegas, Miami, Tokyo, and any more.

“REVIVE” is curated by Rom Levy and supported by LeBasse Projects. The exhibition marks a new phase in the artist’s creative direction. Found objects are reworked and repurposed to draw into question the individual status and collective value assigned to ‘raw materials’. Furniture and vintage photographs sourced by Whatson from flea markets and auctions are ‘vandalized’ with graffiti.

Black and white cameo portraits of Victorian women are given spray painted masks in full colour. This technique allows the found object to be decontextualised, by dismantling, obscuring and performing its original meaning – particularly the photograph. The spray can becomes a mode of theoretical obfuscation, warping the distance between centuries, and bringing to mind the work of surrealist artists such as Rene Magritte.

Throughout his career he has examined the nature of contrasts. This new body of work sees the prominent street artist call into question the expectations of urban art, by uprooting the medium from its urban context. Playing with ideas of vandalism, urban art in “REVIVE” is a way to deconstruct the past and articulate the contrast between a commercially produced item and the memory it contains.

The ephemeral exhibition will be on display from the 29th of September through the 8th of October at… well, that’s still a secret, but the location is set to be revealed soon.

About the artist

Martin Whatson (b. 1984) is a Norwegian born and based stencil artist. While studying Art and Graphic design at Westerdals School of Communication, Oslo, he discovered stencils and the urban art scene. After following graffiti and its development, he started his own stencil production 10 years ago in the winter of 2004.

Martin has a continuous urge to search for beauty in what is commonly dismissed as ugly, out of style or simply left behind. He looks for inspirations in people, city landscapes, old buildings, graffiti, posters and decaying walls. This interest for decay has helped develop his style, motives and composition and he enjoys creating either unity or conflict between materials, backgrounds, motives and human intervention. His artistic expression started more political, but has developed into a more subtle expression blending graffiti, stencil art and decay together. Inspired by artist like

Jose Parlá and Cy Twombly. His abstract graffiti and stencils are a mix of urban scenes showing the development of a walls lifetime. He use grey tones as a basis but add’s vibrant colours to break the monochrome concrete expression and bring a splash of life to his motives.

About the curator

Rom Levy has been involved with Urban Art for more than fifteen years as a writer, curator, dealer, and advisor. In 2009, he launched the ‘StreetArtNews’ website to promote underground art, which widened his scope to work with a larger roster of street artists. He opened his first gallery in 2011 in London. He is noted as one of the latest figures to help popularize street art and as an authority on the latest trends in urban contemporary art. He is now based in Dubai and is working on Urban Art exhibitions and mural projects worldwide. He recently curated a section of “Urban Nation”, the first-ever Street Art Museum to open in Berlin next week.

About the gallery

RexRomae is an urban contemporary art gallery project that began in 2011 in London. The gallery’s innovative schedule of pop-up exhibitions in vacant spaces across the world replicates the ephemeral ethos of urban art. The gallery created large exhibitions with DALeast, Borondo, Alexis Diaz, Martin Whatson, Ben Eine, Agostino Iacurci… RexRomae was founded by Rom Levy.

For more info about the exhibition or the works exhibited, contact: revive@rexromae.com

Martin whatson: website | instagram | facebook
RexRomae: website | instagram | facebook


Author: Fran

Founder and editor of Urbanite. Street Art lover who after the finishing her MA thesis on the muralist movement in the 1920-50s, developed a fascination for street art and graffiti that eventually led to collaborations with different art blogs, including the creation of this one.