This October, Foster/White is thrilled to welcome new work by Shawn Huckins. Huckins' Seattle debut will feature paintings from his most notable series to date, The American Revolution Revolution and The American __tier, both of which ask the viewer to question the evolution of culture by juxtaposing early American paintings with a 21st century lexicon derived from social media and texting acronyms.
In The American Revolution Revolution, Huckins meticulously handpaints 18th century portraits, copying work by iconic artists like John Singleton Copley and Gilbert Stuart. By layering the portraits with text taken directly from the internet, Huckins challenges the priorities of our society compared with those held by a generation undergoing great transformation. "If George could comment today," Huckins writes, "would he click the ‘like’ button, or post ‘wtf?’" Does the way in which we communicate -- the Facebook status updates, tweets, texting acronyms -- change the value of what we communicate? Perhaps the question is more relevant now than ever, as we confront a volatile political landscape made all the more fragile by instantaneous means of communications.
But Huckins' work is not meant solely as critique. He recognizes that the ubiquity of abbreviations and fragmented sentences do not signify the death of language, but rather a growing and evolving mode of communication which changes as our world does. The American _tier goes further to ask whether technological advancements have weakened our ability to empathize and connect to one another in a meaningful way. Moving into the 19th century, a century defined by progress and westward expansion, Huckins compares a more traditional frontier with the digital landscape of today's world.
A New Hampshire native, Huckins now lives and works in Denver, Colorado. His paintings have been displayed in private and public collections across the country, including the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, MA and the Vicki Myhren Gallery at the University of Denver. Huckins has received grants from the Haven Foundation of Maine, Artists’ Fellowship Inc. of New York City, and the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, among others.