At first glance, the work of the artist Retna looks like an undiscovered ancient script: a series of hypnotic symbols—complex, beautiful and captivating. But Retna has created an original alphabet, fusing together influences from ancient Incan and Egyptian hieroglyphics, Arabic, Hebrew, Asian calligraphy, and graffiti.
Maddox Gallery, Mayfair is delighted to present Margraves, the highly anticipated solo exhibition from renowned graffiti artist turned contemporary art star, Retna. The exhibition, set across two floors of the gallery, will include a selection of new works from the prolific American artist. With a global cult following and reputation as one of the most prominent and successful street artists of our time, the exhibition will be Retna’s first solo exhibition in Europe in the last decade and will open during London’s Frieze week. One of the top five selling graffiti artists in the world, Retna is renowned for his bold use of line work that depicts a unique, hybrid language. This script, which celebrates multiculturalism, resembles an ancient alphabet, and derives influence from Egyptian hieroglyphics and other pictographic languages. Known internationally for his public and privately commissioned mural projects, Retna’s iconic paintings have appeared on the Bowery/Houston Wall in New York City, Wynwood Walls in Miami and the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Grand Avenue Campus in LA. Major brands have commissioned large-scale murals including Vista Jet, Louis Vuitton and Nike. His works have been exhibited internationally in Los Angeles, Miami, London, New York and Hong Kong and were featured prominently in the LA Museum of Contemporary Art’s Art in the Streets exhibition in 2011. A large-scale installation of his work was featured at the San Francisco Legion of Honor’s 2016 exhibition The Future of the Past: Mummies and Medicine. Retna was the artistic designer for the visual reimagining of the San Francisco and Washington National Opera’s production of AIDA in 2016 and 2017. His work featured in the Los Angeles’ Olympic bid campaign and recently on Justin Bieber’s album
cover for ‘Purpose’. The artist’s paintings are featured in numerous important private collections including that of Jeffrey Deitch, Swizz Beats and Usher among many others. Retna is the alias of American contemporary artist Marquis Lewis. He is known internationally for his large-scale public and privately commissioned murals and black and white calligraphic works on canvas. He was born in 1978 in Los Angeles, California, where he continues to live and work. As a child Lewis was inspired to pursue art after seeing graffiti on the freeway. He was introduced to the Los Angeles mural scene at an early age and became a regular fixture on the Los Angeles graffiti scene, leading one of the largest graffiti art collectives in the city since he was in high school. Retna’s mixed heritage - African-American, El Salvadorian, Spaniard, Pipil and Cherokee – has guided the artist’s exploration of collective unity across cultures and language through his own universal text. Maddox Gallery, Mayfair is fast emerging as one of the smartest young contemporary art destinations in London. The gallery recently exhibited the phenomenally successful second exhibition from New York based artist Bradley
Theodore, dubbed ‘The A List’s Favourite Artist’ by ES Magazine. Last spring Maddox Gallery made global headlines when it exhibited ‘Make America Great Again’ the provocative Donald Trump nude by Ilma Gore. Censored by Facebook, it became the first truly viral artwork of the Instagram age and provoked political, social and creative debate across the globe. With two Mayfair locations, the first a beautiful 3750 square foot Victorian townhouse in Maddox Street, the second in the heart of Shepherd Market, Maddox Gallery has also recently announced a third London space, opening in Westbourne Grove in September 2017. Their roster of cutting edge international contemporary artists and photographers includes RETNA, Bradley Theodore, David Yarrow, Dan Baldwin, The Connor Brothers, Massimo Agostinelli, Chris Moon, Tyler Shields, Tony Kelly, Bran Symondson and Michael Moebius.