Remi Rough has been making images for more than a quarter of a century. His art began on walls and trains in South London in 1984. Today it has been exhibited in cities such as Miami, Newcastle, Berlin and New York. As a respected train writer, Remi has also played a significant role in the development of ‘abstract graffiti’, a term that seems far too clinical to describe the accomplishments of his work, which has always been about the interplay of color and shape.
His color palette –it seems to include an infinite range of shades and combinations – is worked out through deceptively simple arrangements of lines and angles, that bring colors into unexpected encounters with each other.
Much of this has been done on canvasses large and small, bringing the movement and style of train writing, condensed to its essential ingredients of line and color, into the space of the gallery. And as part of the collective Agents of Change, Remi has also been re-imagining public spaces, whether in an abandoned ‘ghost village’ in Scotland, now transformed into a massive outdoor gallery, or on the exterior of the Megaro Hotel in the center of London, offering passer-bys the sight of a new and dramatic mural, five stories high.
While Remi’s art has always been about creating dimension within the depths of a canvas or a wall, his new works have put that idea into an exciting new direction, by transforming a three dimensional object such as a skull through the application of paint and by extracting complex shapes from the flat canvas into sculptural forms.
The interplay of line and color on Remi’s canvasses speak to his fascination with artists such as Kazimir Malevich. These new works point to a dialogue with shape and space, following sculptors such as Richard Serra. And to me that makes perfect sense, for who is better placed to understand the interplay of color, form and line than an artist with the kind of history that shapes Remi’s work – a history that begins with trains moving through the city and that weaves together gallery, graffiti and the architecture of the city.
When we look at Remi’s images today, we think about the spaces around us, whether in a gallery or a city street, and we lose ourselves in the sheer pleasure that he offers us through the geometry of color.
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