Nebay started graffiti in 1987 at the age of 13 and would never stop. He is part of the Parisian graffiti vandal scene and of the 100% JCT crew (I always run at 100 an hour) with which he will paint all over the world. The name of this group is also a reflection of his personality, a hyperactive artist, in perpetual creation, who runs after time to create always more.
Very early, his vandal graffiti style, inspired by New York graffiti of the 80s, was assertive with flops, blocks, and tags from his name. His optimistic character spreads in his plastic work as well outside as in his workshop work on canvas and paper.
While he will almost systematically draw inspiration from the environment in which he paints outdoors to establish his composition and palette of colors, his studio work, which will remain just as spontaneous, will be more intimate in his pictorial research. Music, which is not just a background sound, plays a key role in the creative phase of his studio works.
In general, Nebay’s work is the explosion of a bouquet of colors. The radiant energy that we find in his paintings and works on paper, in a style sometimes freestyle, sometimes more composed, develops in central compositions radiating to the outside of the supports.
The saturation and contrast of the signs, letters and colors, creates a physical relief on his plastic works which is reminiscent of the gesture of a dripping borrowed from Jackson Pollock. Nebay thus subtly slips us some technical references to the history of twentieth century art. To the pop colors of some of his works, we will add the use of a stencil grid reminding us of some of Roy Lichtenstein’s backgrounds.
For this first collaboration with GCA Gallery Nebay offers us a selection of works from his last 30 years of work and artistic research.
The titles of his pieces are an integral part of the work. We find in the choice of these quotes the personality of the artist. Nebay is a very thoughtful and wise person. The choice of a particular quote to title a canvas is not trivial. This title will reflect his mood, his desire to send us a message, Nebay challenges us on subjects that are close to his heart. Occasionally this title will be part of the composition and will be read in filigree in the thicknesses of materials superimposed in several layers of paint.
In the pieces “Stripping yourself is growing up” and “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever” the use of colored spots, seemingly chaotic, is in fact very methodical. Superimposition of close or contrasting colors remind us of the rifle paintings of Niki de Saint-Phalle, wo blew up pockets of paint on white supports, thus creating a partially controlled patchwork with a predefined chromatic range.
The initials of his JCT crew give after reflection the title of one of the works in the exhibition, “Je Creuse mes Toiles”. Nebay, in its latest series, superimposes two frames to form a single work. The two canvases are produced simultaneously, and the one in the foreground will be perforated to leave the second visible through more or less angular, more or less rounded shapes. The use of this new medium results, as so often in the history of art, from an accident that the artist wanted to deepen. By carelessly puncturing a canvas Nebay perceived the physical device of the depth of the image. In these rooms the depth is no longer simply suggested by tricks of pictorial techniques but it is very real by its nature, by its construction and its foundations. The viewer is only more drawn to the work as its position, the direction of the light and its point of view will change its perception.
This exhibition is a hymn to color and highlights the artist’s latest research and creations. NEBAY’s work is a dance of colors in which the viewer’s eye is constantly called upon. The artist sends us a message of peace and respect. The altruism and sharing that he demonstrates on a daily basis spread in his creations to seduce the eye of the spectator and touch his sensitivity.