Stinkfish at High Roller Society
Stinkfish is a highly talented street artist hailing from Mexico City. His first solo show in London, Espina, launched at High Roller Society on 26th October and runs until 11th November. It is always a tricky job to relay street art in a gallery setting, however, Stinkfish’s works fit perfectly. One of the things often forgotten about street art is that it has the ability to be highly site specific. Whether on canvas or on a brick wall, many street artists are able to tailor their work to specification. This is something that he has achieved with great success.
The exhibit showcases a wealth of work within the modest space, excellently curated so as not to appear cluttered. Obsessed with portraiture, this makes up the majority of his pieces. The show title Espina, meaning “thorn”, is depicted throughout with his portraits either being constructed from, or manipulated by the use of thorn-like shapes covering the facial structures. Using a range of media including spray paint, stencil, ink and found objects, Stinkfish’s show becomes eclectic whilst retaining its consistent theme. A fan of bold colours, the artist fills the space with eye-catching works which split your focus and keep you revisiting pieces time and again.
A collection of small pieces of work are structured within a curated wall covered in wooden panelling; it appears as something you would find in a family home. On closer inspection, the pieces within are photographs, magazines and record sleeves manipulated with ink to appear encased with thorns. It is difficult to tell what many of the works are made from with only your eye; this is because of the artist’s meticulous attention to detail which eliminates a sense of imperfection, and so suggests the images could be printed. They are, however, not printed.
Stinkfish presents a series of spray painted portraits on salvaged materials such as metal and wood. These are the larger pieces in the show and create bold statements, often political. Favouring the female form, most of the artist’s portraits are of women. Their constructions (complete with thorns) leave a sense of the soul escaping, their eyes more often than not contain a sadness. This leaves the audience open to interpret the pieces as they see fit, a societies struggle, a female strength releasing, a fight; there is a wealth of conclusions that can be drawn from this exciting work.
Our favourite pieces in the show were a selection of manipulated vintage records. The addition of the thorns becomes completely transformative and the imagery becomes sinister, appearing deadly. It is clear within these pieces to see strong political messages. One piece uses a commemorative record for Pope John Paul II, another depicts a small girl dressed as an angel covered in red to appear devil-like. Like many street artists, Stinkfish is not afraid to make a statement. Here the statement is matched in strength by the works to produce a fantastic show.
High Roller Society is a fantastic space and was born from a wealth of creativity. Not satisfied with the economic downturn, a group of artists declared that they would not be “victims of circumstance” and opened High Roller Society as a space to show and connect with creativity and thus happiness. Located a stone’s throw from Bethnal Green, the gallery is slightly tucked away on Palmers Road. Once found, be prepared to be accosted by great creative company and free-thinking minds. High Roller Society is more than a gallery, it is an ever-developing community.
For more information on Stinkfish and his work, please visit his website.
For information on High Roller Society, including upcoming exhibitions, please click here.