New York, NY (March 22, 2012) - Hionas Gallery is pleased to present Urban Evolution: PORTRAITS PROJECT, from renowned photographer and street artist Burton Machen. In this exhibition, his first in New York City since 2010, Machen has selected a number of works from his bi-coastal Portraits Project (Los Angeles and New York), in which the artist posts two-tone photographs of artists, celebrities, political figures and other notable personalities on walls throughout the city streets. Inevitably each poster comes to bear the markings of various passersby, who tear, stamp, spray paint and/or affix random items to the portraits. The majority of Machen’s selected works are photographic pigment prints of the original on-site portrait, each of which assuredly looks far different now, if in fact it still exists.
Rather than perceiving the “destruction” of these portraits as a form of urban decay, Machen sees an evolution taking place; sometimes quick but more often a slow and gradual metamorphosis, wherein the individual subject solicits a variety of responses and actions from anonymous sources. Upon returning to each – weeks if not months after the fact - to capture and time stamp the newly evolved portrait, the end result in some instances represents a symbolic commentary on the subject at hand.
Machen’s subjects for this exhibition comprise a who’s who of celebrities culled from the worlds of fashion and art, including the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Princess Diana, Debbie Harry, David Hockney, Robert Mapplethorpe, Alexander McQueen, Kate Moss, Terry Richardson, Cindy Sherman, Patti Smith, Andy Warhol, and several others. In Machen’s Andy… 3/15/2010 4:12:17 PM Los Angeles, CA, the seemingly random supplements to Warhol’s portrait all converge to create a unique representation that the artist himself probably would have relished. In each eyeglass lens sits a S-shaped snake, with two swords forming a V and piercing the snake from head to tail, resembling U.S. dollar signs. A skeleton figure grins at the viewer from the upper right-hand corner, holding a Polaroid camera with his flesh-and-bone hand.