Through his vibrant depictions of a graffiti covered Garden of Eden, Todd James invites you to immerse yourself in his fantastical, acrylic world presented at the Ross+Kramer gallery in Chelsea.
Born in 1969 in New York, he began his career at a young age, quickly becoming a pioneer in the city’s graffiti scene, painting on the subway system under the name of REAS. As he effortlessly bridges the gap between the worlds of graffiti, commercial art, and fine art, he establishes a political and social commentary on life, depicting the human condition and the vices he’s subjected to with a playful twist.
Developed right after the pandemic, coming out of the gloominess of the many lockdowns and anxieties we’ve recently witnessed, the “Garden of Eden” exhibit surely offers a refreshing sight, as one can enjoy the beauty and complexity of his gigantic canvases. By embracing his graffiti heritage as well as the playful and self-expressive features of the art form itself, he creates a juxtaposition of the many diverse elements that represent the American landscape, touching on fantasy, comics, violence, and absurdity, often incorporating politics and satire.
What is most enjoyable is uncovering the mysteries hidden within the works. The artist’s psychedelic characters indeed seem immersed in the everyday mundane, yet his unruly metaphorical depictions are essentially much more profound. At the edge of abstraction, with pop cultural winks and sub cultural nods, he forms a mockery of war and translates what it feels like grown up on cartoons and violence being merged together in the same frame.
An exhibition not to miss, on view through May 30th at the Ross+Kramer gallery, Chelsea.