The magnet pull of American painter Barkley L. Hendricks is enough to get on a plane to New York, right now.
Two notable exhibitions open in the city this week, including Barkley’s first solo show at Jack Shainman Gallery, featuring nine brand new oil-on-canvas portraits. We will meet new characters in these full length portraits, we will be dazzled by the artist’s eye for fashion and humor. We will take in his master handling of fabrics, patterns, color, jewelry, and complex personalities and attitudes. Heart Hands Eyes Mind also features photographs and landscape paintings, more than 40 years of work. It’s on view through April 6.
Another of Barkley’s portraits is on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art as part of Blues for Smoke, the interdisciplinary exhibition that originated at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, exploring a wide range of contemporary art through the blues and blues aesthetics. We caught this show in Los Angeles and were delighted to discover Barkley’s 1982 painting, “Something Like a Bird: Double Barbara.” Double LIKE!
We always carry a warm glow from Barkley’s huge solo show at the Nasher Museum in 2008. He is best known for his stunning, life-sized portraits of people of color from the urban northeast, painted mostly in the ’70s and ’80s. While the artist has focused more on landscapes and photography in recent years, he has turned his attention lately to portraits. Barkley fans were treated to two sneak peeks in the past year at Shainman’s art fair booths in New York and Miami.
TOP: Barkley L. Hendricks, Triple Portrait: World Conqueror, 2011. Oil, aluminum leaf, variegation leaf, and combination gold leaf on cotton canvas, 60 x 40 inches, 62 x 42 1/4 x 2 inches framed. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.