Last month I happened to be in Barcelona as Montana Gallery opened their latest exhibition in collaboration with Omega TBS. It seemed rude not to check it out, so I went along after the opening night to see what the show had to offer.
Themes cutting across Omega TBS’ work include African American cinema, hip hop, underground comics and old Japanese prints. The Valencian artist specialises in ink and digital illustration, watercolour and spray paint – most of which was on display within the four walls of Montana’s neat gallery space, a mere stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomf.
In this exhibition the work could be split roughly into 3 main sections – on the right hand side of the entrance sat his showpiece mural, along the far side were intricate illustrations and to the left was a really fascinating exploration of portraiture.
His 51 watercolour portraits move in three ‘channels’ from amazing detail and realism, progressing further into abstract shapes as you move to the far end of the gallery space.
A really cool experiment on representing a human face, and how this can vanish into a series of patterns and interconnected shapes when taken to the extremes.
On the opposite wall were a series of intricate illustrations showing a messy gathering of animals, humans and animal like humans (or human like animals depending on your standpoint) swarming across the paper.
There are hints of Ralph Steadman’s later illustrations here, perhaps nodding toward the hallucinogenic trips of Raoul Duke in Hunter S Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
There’s also a twisted Jazz Age feel about these too, which I think probably stems from the baroque lamp post that centres one piece, to the barman and bedraggled clientele in the bar scene.
The indoor mural piece while visually very impressive, is probably the least interesting of the whole exhibit.
This is definitely a compliment to the other work in the exhibit, as the mural itself is impressive, but feels overshadowed by the detail of his illustrations and the extensive watercolour portraits.
A top exhibit, and one that you should certainly make time for if you happen to visit Barcelona before the end of June 2018.
The show runs at Montana Gallery until the 23rd.