Friend and Griffin, collectively working as Gentleman’s Game since 2011, explore recurring themes of mythology, technology, history and mortality as viewed through the murky waters of their mythological realm, The Atlantic. The Atlantic is the vast ocean that covers nearly the entire surface of Gentleman’s Game’s Fantastic Planet, a vision of our own possible dystopian future. Safe Houses boasts the most complete selection of paintings from their Atlantic storyline displayed to date. In this show, Gentleman’s Game will debut a new collection of previously un-exhibited works, their latest addition to this epic saga.
In this striking world imagined by Gentleman’s Game, tenacious survival instinct and ingenuity give rise to incredible, fragmented and towering cities referencing shanty towns cobbled together with raw materials and strange alchemy. Cities built to exist upon the trees, upon the skeletons of long decaying oil rigs and the very few mountaintops able to break the surface of the great, never-ending ocean. The constant struggle for resources and land lead to a proliferation of fantastical modes of transport. Alchemists, utilizing technologies and magics both old and new, create vessels to fill the sea and air, allowing their clans to fight and maybe survive as new Gods watch over their subjects with cool disregard. Among the chaos and despair, the artists still manage to create images of hope. Glimmers of this world’s fragile beauty can be spotted throughout the relentless turmoil.
In their latest works, Safe Houses, Friend and Griffin depict a refuge in larger than life trees, lending themselves to colonization for those with the means and perseverance seeking higher ground. Tree houses are often whimsical and magical in their creation, a makeshift adaptation of their site-specific nature, and these works feel just the same. Set in the context of an implied undying struggle for survival, the nostalgic and lightheartedness of tree houses turn to a more serious and cerebral tone.