Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Politics of Material

Alvaro Barrington
Untitled Date Paintings 1419 - 2019
acrylic and mixed media on burlap 

Material Tells 
June 23 - September 8, 2019
Oakville Art Galleries
Curated by Daisy Desrosiers

In a climate du jour of ethics as aesthetics, an exhibition concerning material is certainly an attention-getter. Yet the content - the telling - keeps the exhibition away from being either an anachronistic or defiant display of formalism. As the exhibition statement reads, "This group exhibition explores the cultural meanings that emerge from the materials artists use."

Take for example, Alvaro Barrington's Untitled Date Paintings 1419 - 2019. While they make an overt comical allusion to On Kawara's date paintings, they are painted in burlap, a material choice inspired by Barrington witnessing cacao beans packed in burlap bags in Barbados. Barrington spent eight years of his childhood in the Caribbean (Grenada), and he regularly infuses his memories in his work, either directly or inspirationally.  

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