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Dont Fret
Johalla Projects, Chicago, Illinois
Recommendation by Robin Dluzen

Dont Fret, “So You’d Like to be a Home Owner, Ay?” 2017, acrylic on wood panel, 33 x 35"

Continuing through September 3, 2017

Chicago street artist Dont Fret applies the same wit and spontaneity of his wheatpaste works from the street to his assemblages and works on paper created for a gallery setting. Present here is the stuff that has garnered the artist a cult following: sharp quips, stylized figures, and blatant nostalgia for a working-class Chicago that disappears as gentrification sweeps the neighborhoods. Gallery information explains that the young, anonymous artist has been wrestling with “adulthood,” and it’s easy to see in this exhibition a questioning of convictions.

Some topics are directly in his snide crosshairs: vegans, yuppie nine-to-fivers, conceptual art. But, the artist’s most resonant images are those that address apathy, hopelessness and frustration. “I certainly don’t know how to solve the issues in government, and I’m certainly not willing to try,” says a talking head in a work on paper from Dont Fret’s floor-to-ceiling installation. And another: “I expect the government to at least kick the can down the road until we as a society can figure it out for them.” And finally, a head with a smile explains, “I make most of my money gambling in various riverboat gambling facilities!” Here, the artist’s incredibly accurate insight expresses the uneasy feeling that permeates contemporary life: an awareness that something’s deeply wrong, but having no clue whether to do something about it, or how.

Johalla Projects

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