Brad Downey: An Honest Thief @ StolenSpace

On Sunday Graffoto posted their review of Brad Downey‘s current solo show at StolenSpace Gallery entitled “An Honest Thief”. Although I usually love and agree with NoLionsInEngland’s reviews, I have to go a slightly different direction this time.

Here’s an excerpt from thier review:

Ever been jealous of someone’s lateral vision, been envious of the gift of conceiving and executing simple, subverted variations to the street scenery around us? If you’re an ordinary guy and have come across Brad Downey’s street art – then the answer is probably yes and yes again.

However, have you ever been let down by your heroes or disappointed by the mediocre achievement of a show hyped up by your own expectation that the street work is somehow going to transpose to a white box gallery space? If you go to Brad Downey’s first solo UK show in Stolen Space, London, then again you may find yourself ticking yes several times.

I went into the show with absolutely no expectations. I had no idea what I was going to see. Of course Downey’s street work would be very hard to move into a gallery space, but I had seen him speak this summer at the Tate Modern, and he had shown some videos there which I’d liked.

Brad Downey The B in the Brad

When I arrived, the first thing that struck me was the large sculpture “The B in the Brad” which looks like a giant jack made of street signs. This piece is the centerpiece of the show, and although I could never imagine it in a house, it is an interesting project and a bit of a twist on Downey’s usual street sign work.

There were a few photographic prints of Downey’s outdoor work which show the before and after scenes. Most of these can also be found on his website, but it was nice to provide a context for the work. After all, Downey is best on the street, so why not show some of that.

Night Dicks

There were a few pieces of more gallery-suitable work as well.

The “Night Dick in Love” and “Night Dick on Limp” pieces are well crafted and made it smile. These sculptures also come with a dvd of a police violence.

Animals that Crossed

“Animals That Crossed” were probably my favorite physical works in the show. Normally I’m not a fan of fur, but I’ll make an exception here.

The real reason to visit “An Honest Thief” though are the videos. There are 4 videos of Downey’s work playing in the gallery, and these are what, in Vandalog’s Great in ’08 series, Asbestos said were so fantastic. My personal favorite has to be the video of Downey cutting out a giant heart shape from a red screen covering a building under construction. Brad ended up getting arrested and fined for that, but I suppose that’s part of street art.

Go down to StolenSpace Gallery before this show closes on the 8th, because while much of Brad’s work is online, who knows when you’ll be able to see his videos again. Plus, it’s always better to see work in person.

Keep an eye out on Vandalog later this week for my profile/interview with Brad Downey (right now I’ve got a physics exam to study for).