‘The Sea has No name for America’ is Scottish-born and London based urban poet Robert Montgomery’s second solo exhibition with Madison Gallery. Known for infamous light works and monochrome billboard installations in 2004 Robert highjacked his first billboard telling the Daily Beast that he was sick of being assaulted with “meaningless and idotic” consumer ads. Montgomery is a master of the written word his pieces are thought proving and polarized wrestling with complex issues as the accretion of consumeristic culture as well as soc-political and ecological responsibility. In what normally would be considered contrary they simultaneously are also dreamy and whimsical about love, power, hope, and human kindness.
This new body of work is different than the large electric lights plastered across breathtaking landscapes that launched Robert into internet history in 2010. Although they entice the viewer to reflect on similar themes, these paintings are personal, deeply reflective, softer and nod at the modernist movement from a hundred years ago through the use of iconography and geometric abstraction.
In an interview with ArtNet Robert writes of the Mantra series highlighted in this exhibition.
“The “Mantra” paintings are little things I need to get through the day. We live in a time when bad news is upon us constantly. The spectacle that used to be on television is on our phones and on our bodies, in a way. I was thinking of positive mantras that I need to protect myself from the spectacle.”
In the same interview, Robert revealed he hopes the viewer “will reflect on the last hundred years of modern history and art history and see the ghosts of that in the work, and then reflect on this very difficult point in socio-political and ecological history that we’re in now too.”