I made it over to see Alex Brewer aka HENSE’s “700 Delaware Ave” in Washington, D.C. today.
I’ve searched out and seen most of his mural/exterior work in Atlanta, but this was the first time I’ve seen his work in a different city. The location was interesting as I so strongly associate his work with Atlanta. The work is created on the exterior of an old abandoned church on the city’s southeast side. The church was hard to locate via iphone GPS but with a little perseverance we were able to find the building. I had read online that the church was tucked away in a somewhat arts-inclined but transitioning neighborhood and I was interested to see the building’s surroundings. After circling around the neighborhood a few times, we turned the corner and there it was.
Like most times I first see one of Brewer’s exterior works, I felt a surge of excitement in seeing the color composition and fantastic marks from a distance. This piece was a relatively new experience for me in viewing one of Brewer’s works, as it was the second piece of his that I’d seen that was mostly 3D. His work on 10th Street in Atlanta on the WCAC is incredible for its composition, but that building is much more of a standard 4-walls-and-a-roof shape. This work stood out as it had all of the components of the old church included in the work (steeple, staircase, etc.) which really created some interesting angles to view the work from.
Having heard Brewer speak at the Sandler Hudson gallery last week, I was really excited to see a new (to me) exterior work to contrast to his new prints and paintings at Sandler Hudson and the installation and print at the High Museum. During last week’s talk, Brewer spoke at length about the process that he uses for each of his works and how he goes into most work with only the colors, tools and a general idea what the work will look like after he’s finished. Brewer’s process of improvisation and “resolving” the composition of his work are both beautifully and skillfully done at “700 Delaware Ave”.
Brewer’s works come alive with an almost aggressive joyfulness. I could look at his exterior works for hours and I’m looking forward to seeing firsthand more of his exterior work both in Atlanta and elsewhere.