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Ian de Beer at Cass Project

Ian de Beer’s latest outing takes his well-known graffiti work indoors. As the inaugural exhibit for the Cass Project, helmed and curated by Tina Dillman, de Beer’s rigid abstractions are found comfortably apace within the former industrial site turned residential/ commercial magnet. In a building where the old is new again, de Beer’s latest body of work seeks to mine the canon of modern painting; drawing inspiration from the lyrical abstraction of modern and contemporary artists alike.

While each of the pieces are flat monochromes topped with a calligraphic flourish, de Beer’s painting CV sparks a direct line of communication from its understated, yet firm, presence. On the most literal level CV prods the viewer to think of a curriculum viate, its abbreviated counterpoint, but considering the diptych is equal parts bare canvas stretcher and a fleshy pink counterpart with spots and stripes, it calls to mind a CV once blank and later filled with legibility. This is perhaps an allusion to de Beer’s beginnings as a graffiti artist and rebellious youth, to fully-fledged gallery artist. Remaining work within the exhibit jumps enigmatically from panes of blue, orange, back and bubblegum pink alike, drawing inspiration from a well-worn practice of enhance visual legibility echoing endless alleyways and tagged traincars.

de Beer’s past life as a graffiti artist greatly informs his present body of work. By infusing modernist tendencies of both abstraction and hyper-flat painting surfaces with organic line work and untraditional canvas shapes resembling numbers, letters and traffic directionals, this body of work becomes a remnant of spontaneity. The work presented here is a snapshot, an afterimage behind the eyes, when a graffiti tag is digested in the space of a blink.

The exhibit will be on view for the remainder of February, and the artist will be speaking about his work in the Atrium of 500 Seneca on February 24 from 12-1pm. The exhibit is publicly accessible between 7:30am-7pm, or by appointment via Tina Dillman, who can be reached at :

Ian de Beer at Cass Project | 500 Seneca Street | Buffalo, NY

Written by Dana Tyrrell

Dana Tyrrell

Dana Tyrrell is an artist, curator, and writer currently living and working in Buffalo, NY. He has earned degrees from both the University at Buffalo (2015) and the State University of New York at Fredonia (2012).

View All Articles by Dana Tyrrell


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