For their second exhibition with #Hashtag Gallery, urban artist Anser presents Surface Salvaged, a new body of work with a strong focus on medium and impression. Using objects and architectural surfaces repurposed from destroyed and dilapidated locations throughout Toronto, Anser incorporates their iconic, mysterious face into reclaimed relics of the city’s past.
In addition to the artist’s solo work are major collaborative pieces with fellow artist Pascal Paquette. While both have strong backgrounds in the graffiti movement, each artist pulls from their own experience in different ways, culminating in a juxtaposition of signature styles that both contrast and compliment one another. The dense layering that arises from this partnership speaks to the issues of art and infrastructure, unveiling the constant battle of voices within the public realm, and the subsequent marks left from this dialogue upon the city itself.
In addition to this collaboration, Anser would like to acknowledge the tireless efforts of local artisan, and street soul artist at heart, Augustine Dacosta. Having sourced many of the surfaces featured in this show, Dacosta collects what is abandoned within the depth of the city to reclaim the deep history within its weathered objects.
Lifted from the palimpsest of urban decay, the found materials of Surface Salvaged find new life under Anser’s notorious insignia, and serve as unanchored canvases that mimic and retain the immediacy of the artist’s street work. Each piece speaks to the contradictory state our cities inhabit, so permanent in material yet mutable and ephemeral in the process of urban evolution. A route that is mirrored within the nature of graffiti itself, here salvaged is not only of the materials used but preserving the impermanent markings Anser leaves on the walls of Toronto.