As Maser prepares for his Graphic Studio Gallery debut, his recent controversy with Dublin City Council reminds us he’s a street-writing man, writes Mic Moroney in the Autumn edition of the Irish Arts Review.
Unusual among street artists for his often abstract work, Dublin-born Maser is rarely removed from his origins in graffiti, often characterized as the hieroglyphics of rats, precipitating urban collapse. But whilst more mature Irish street art is often deployed to brighten up slums or prettify hoardings, it has exploded in ambition in recent years, with Maser as one of its ambassadors, city-hopping across Europe, the US, Canada and Australia to mount ever larger murals, psychedelic mazes and candy-coloured labyrinths. It’s all fun, pop, retro, vibrant, and makes people smile; eclectically dipping into post-war American Geometric Abstraction – particularly Hard Edge, Colour Field or unashamed Op Art; from Ellsworth Kelly and Frank Stella to Bridget Riley.
Maser’s latest cause célèbre in July was his lightning-rod Repeal the 8th mural on Project Arts Centre, signalling the 1983 Constitutional Amendment underpinning Ireland’s grotesquely restrictive anti-abortion law. Commissioned by feminist collective HunReal Issues, it attracted 50 direct complaints to Project, but over 200 letters of support from the Artists’ Repeal Campaign, the Irish Union of Students, TDs, Senators, NGOs, academics, celebrities, citizens and 24 Dublin City Council (DCC) Councillors (and an online petition, signed by over 3,000 people in three days). However, after receiving seven complaints, DCC viewed the mural and issued a ‘warning letter’ under planning legislation, deeming that Maser’s sign had changed the tone of the street. As DCC- funded Project painted over the mural, mournfully filmed on countless camera-phones for social media, and instantly becoming national news, the DCC announced the file was now closed. But the cat was out of the bag.
Read the full article in the Autumn edition which can be purchased here.