Montreal, Quebec
June 09, 2022

S16 Gallery is proud to announce a solo show with world famous street artist Shepard Fairey (aka. Obey). After 20 years the artist will be back in Montreal, and participating with the Montreal MURAL festival. This show will include all new works, on display at our Westmount gallery location. Artist will be present for the opening event.

This show, my first major exhibition in Montreal, comprises the full spectrum of my art practice, including original mixed media paintings and retired stencils, plus screenprints on wood, metal, and one-of-a-kind collaged backgrounds. The artworks in Printed Matters: Paix Et Justice address several concepts and subjects, but the themes of peace and justice are consistent. Peace is represented in both direct and sublime imagery and allegory, whether it be flowers in gun barrels, doves, or blooming flowers, symbolizing harmony cultivation. Justice is a thread through the show visible in art addressing environmental justice, racial justice, gender equality, and police brutality. Though some pieces scream and others are a whisper, the principles of respect, fairness, equality, personal empowerment, and activism are emphatically displayed in this body of work.

People often wonder about my artistic process. I explain that I’m a product of the era of mass production and the mass culture it has created. I can’t imagine my art practice without the influence of, and the use of, printing. Some of my biggest art influences were not paintings but printed things like album covers, skateboard graphics, punk flyers, and T-shirt designs. When I discovered stencil-making and screen printing in high school, I used them to make t-shirts and stickers, but I began to use screen printing to make art in college. I enjoyed illustration, photography, collage, and graphic design separately, but I could synthesize those techniques into an integrated final product with screen printing. Screen printing also provided latitude for experimentation and the ability to make multiples, and my style began to evolve as I explored the graphic nature of the medium. I tried to create images that would translate well to screen print production. A harmony of beauty, power, and utility was my goal. The aesthetics of my paintings and fine art pieces evolved from my practice as a screen printer, rather than the other way around.

Some people say print is on its way out, that digital media will wipe it out, but I say you can never replace the provocative, tactile experience of an art print on the street or in a gallery. Printing still matters.

-Shepard Fairey