September 22nd, 2016 – October 13th, 2016
“Remnants”, a solo exhibition of new work from the Demo Series of JMikal Davis, aka Hellbent, began as an offshoot of Hellbent’s street work in New York’s early 2000’s. After time spent just catching tags, slapping stickers, wheat pasting, and doing rollers, Hellbent started “plaques” of hand-carved drawings. Here New York was introduced to his signature jawbone and strikingly elaborate, colorful backgrounds. The backgrounds of Hellbent’s “plaques” stemmed his increasingly abstract murals, and what would become the “Demo series”.
When carving his “plaques”, Hellbent would mask off the central figure to use lace as a stencil for the background. Remove the tape, and the piece was ready for the street. He intuitively collected that leftover 3M blue tape with the floral overspray, arranging them in vertical configurations in his sketchbook–the Demo Sketches. And over 6 years ago, one of these Demo sketches became the blueprint for his first completely abstract mural.For Hellbent’s first show at 1AM, the artist will be displaying the largest grouping of “Demos” to date. While in past shows he’s featured these demo pieces as a peak into his process, the demo sketches have now evolved into their own distinct facet of Hellbent’s oeuvre. More painterly and raw than his previous work, they are unmistakably “Hellbent” with a sharp shift in control.
The demos from “Remnants” are his leftover 3M blue painter’s tape scraps from recent murals and bus ad takeovers, each piece with different overspray. These accidental remains from his larger scale public works became works of their own; the artist’s process became his final product. Like the way a life can be created from chance meetings or events, Hellbent has created a world of his own through chance.