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Art Fri Apr 25 2014

Past Future Perfect Exhibit at Maxwell Colette Gallery Shows Work of Hellbent

J. Mikal Davis, a.k.a. Hellbent
, "Suspect Device (Stiff Little Fingers)," 2014
, spray paint on panel, 22.5" x 22.5"

Hellbent: Past Future Perfect is the new exhibit of post-street art at the Maxwell Colette Gallery in Noble Square. The artist is J. Mikal Davis, a.k.a. Hellbent, a Brooklyn-based artist who uses intense colors with stenciled patterns to create bold geometric abstractions. This is the artist's first solo exhibition with the gallery and first show in Chicago, where he also painted a street mural in Wicker Park.

The paintings in this exhibit are what Davis calls his mix-tape series. They result from overspray patterns on the tape he uses when spray painting. He reconfigures strips of this tape into small arrangements he calls "demos" that serve as preparatory sketches for the larger work. Davis often displays the demos alongside the paintings they inspired. He describes his work as "elaborate abstract fields of color and movement, with compositions ranging from organized, quilt-like patterns, to completely haphazard bands of weaving color." He names them based on songs he was listening to during the creation process.

Davis adapted his street art name from Richard Hell, the influential musician, writer and artist of the punk movement. Davis began his career pasting confrontational slogans in the Deep South. He also paints abstract murals and street works in major cities and, during his recent Chicago visit, created a 30-foot-long mural, titled "Rhinoceros (Smashing Pumpkins)," at 1520 N. Damen in Wicker Park.

Maxwell Colette Gallery specializes in post-street contemporary art. Director Oliver Hild says his goal is to blur the distinctions between fine art, street art and graffiti. His gallery is committed to elevating art and artists who have been marginalized and under-exposed.

Past Future Perfect is on display until June 7 at the Maxwell Colette Gallery, 908 N. Ashland Ave, from noon until 6pm Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is free. For more information, call 312-496-3153 or email


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Feature Thu Apr 16 2015

From Chicago to Senegal by Way of the Drum: Interview with Local Filmmaker Mallory Sohmer

By Ana Sekler

Mallory Sohmer is a freelance documentary filmmaker from Chicago and a Columbia College alumna. She co-directed the new film, Drum Beat Journey, the story of four inner-city youth who travel to Petit Mbao, Senegal, to participate in a drumming workshop. The program used music as a vehicle to capture and connect with the young men in an engaging and original way. But this is not just a film about drumming; it's about stepping into another culture to learn about oneself.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Wed Jul 01 2015

Terminator Genisys, Magic Mike XXL, The Little Death & Closer to God

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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