September 10, 2009

Hurvin Anderson's barbershop paintings

Hurvin Anderson, "Peter's Sitters 2," 2009, 187 cm x 147 cm. Courtesy of Thomas Dane Gallery.

British painter Hurvin Anderson is may be mid-career, with a solo show at London’s Tate Britain under his belt, but his show at the Studio Museum Harlem is his first big show in the US. In Time Out, Howard Halle reports that Anderson's paintings seem to ping-pong between representation and abstraction, memory and our experience of the here and now. "In this respect, Anderson’s focus on hair cutteries seems apt: They are where stories are told, gossip is exchanged and opinions are expressed—salons, if you will, in more ways than one. They’re also where customers are physically transformed, and where individuals negotiate a sense of self within broader, external standards of fashion and grooming. For the Afro-British especially (as well as for African-Americans here), barbershops serve as social institutions for people who don’t ordinarily have them....These images were originally based on photos Anderson took while watching his father get a haircut, but photographs function for Anderson much as they do for the two artists who most evidently influence him, Luc Tuymans and Peter Doig (Doig is a former teacher of Anderson’s): not as objective documents but as points of departure for painterly reveries about the nature of history, whether personal or shared." Read more.

"Hurvin Anderson: Peter's Series," Studio Museum Harlem, New York, NY. Through October 25.

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