Andrew Barber Painting


Andrew Barber
03 Mar – 02 Apr 2016

Hopkinson Mossman is pleased to present Painting, a solo exhibition of new work by Andrew Barber.

Barber’s diverse painting practice is connected by an interest in light, used both as subject matter –orchestrated on the surface as hazy skyscape, diffused and shifting through the changing colours of his striped canvasses– or, as in his patchworks, deployed as an external influence.

For Painting, Barber captures light as it plays across architectural surfaces. Bleached, languid strokes illuminate banal interior scenes, slivers of light peak through blinds, windows are bathed in it, stairs defined by it. By zooming-in on certain liminal spaces (for example a corner of a window sill, or a door jamb) each work reads as both psychological interior-scape, and geometric composition.

While Barber’s previous work evidenced a somewhat cavalier attitude to painting’s conventions, the tone in Painting is more restrained, even contemplative. The canvasses are mostly monochromatic, painted in luminous oil. The use of tone and shade is sparing; it is a subtle but compelling dramatisation of light that differentiates each architectural plane.

Barber’s new work again looks to both art history and the day-to-day reality of maintaining his practice for content. The interiors featured in Painting are all environments that the artist has worked on in his day job as a commercial painter, and the works evidence an acute familiarity with the medium both inside and outside the studio. The focus here is on rendering painted surfaces – on painting paint, again. This almost absurd action –where the tradeperson’s industry becomes, literally, the subject for the artist’s production– complicates the labour heirarchy, collapsing the two typically distinct roles into that of ‘home decorator’.

Andrew Barber was born in 1978 in Auckland, where he is now based. Recent exhibitions include: Necessary Distraction, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki (2015); A world undone: Works from the Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki (2014); From under the house, Peter McLeavey, Wellington (2014); When I paint my masterpiece, Hopkinson Mossman, Auckland (2014); and New Revised Edition, City Gallery, Wellington (2013). Painting is Barber’s fourth solo exhibition with Hopkinson Mossman, preceeded by Studies (2010), Hedge (2012) and Flags (2013).