The meeting of illustrator Ian Bertram and stencil artist Mor is nothing if not cosmic. First encountering each other as members of Con Artist collective, the two artists have become entangled in each other’s techniques, despite their wholly different mediums. “It’s funny,” Bertram tells CH, “I’ve been drawing, and I noticed the marks that Mor makes in her stencils are almost the same marks that I make when I draw.” It’s true. Looking at Bertram and Mor’s work, there’s such a spooky linearity that it’s hard to believe the two developed their repertoire worlds apart, with Bertram mainly engaged in the comic book universe and Mor using the city as a canvas for her street art and murals. As Bertram says, “I’m not particularly spiritual, but I think Mor and I align in our spirituality… or lack thereof.”
Now the two are joining forces for “And Tomorrow,” a collaborative installation opening tonight, 27 March 2015, at City Bird Gallery in NYC’s Lower East Side. Bertram and Mor spent the better part of the week transforming the gallery from floor to ceiling, overlapping each other’s designs with a wraparound mural featuring new work from each artist. It’s the result of many conversations over drinks, during which the artists bonded over ideas and inspiration. “There were a lot of nights drinking whiskey at the bar down the block from Con Artist, where we just kind of got dark and talked about things,” Mor says. “I say that we’re kind of like two stray dogs who found each other in the street.” Together, the two entered each other’s worlds to explore what they call an “inner landscape,” as they redefine the space they were given at City Bird in what is essentially an exercise in artistic process. “The actual transformation of the gallery is all stream of consciousness,” says Bertram. “It’s really exciting.”
Though Bertram and Mor already align stylistically, “And Tomorrow” highlights their fluent exchange. In fact, the two seem to bleed into each other’s perspectives, with Mor’s visceral use of animalistic symbolism appearing in Bertram’s central piece for the exhibit. “Look, there’s even birds and feathers,” Mor quips while studying Bertram’s work. “That’s for you,” he responds. Still, Bertram and Mor’s respective styles hold their own, with Bertram’s portraiture and esoteric landscape studies and Mor’s delicate-yet-powerful street art aesthetic colliding to make something wholly unique. “I think we have a very similar meditative process and this show is kind of an affirmation for both of us,” says Mor. “I’m not totally sure what it is yet, but I think it’s something that both of us needed to do.”
“And Tomorrow” opens at City Bird Gallery (191 Henry St, NYC) tonight, 27 March 2015, with a closing reception on 6 April 2015 in conjunction with Mor’s birthday.
Images courtesy of Gabriella Garcia