September 12 – October 17, 2015
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 12th from 6 to 8 p.m.
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is very pleased to present CHRIS BARNARD: White Tide, on view from September 12 through October 20, 2015. This will be the artist’s fourth solo exhibition with the Gallery. An artist’s reception will be held on Saturday, September 12th, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Chris Barnard’s work proposes a radical repositioning of contemporary abstraction, in which painting’s progress is linked to conceptions of moral progress. His work examines the relationship between romantic representations of the American landscape and the ideologies that have long fueled class- and race-based inequalities, environmental degradation, state-sanctioned violence, as well as imperialism and a willingness to wage war, calling into question the role of painting in the face of concrete social and ecological crisis.
Over the course of his career, Barnard has grappled with the politics of landscape painting, creating works that address social conflict through the aesthetic collision of color, texture, and form. Working seamlessly between abstraction and representation, he has sought to evoke, interrogate, and undermine the traditions of romantic landscape painting; to reexamine the ideals that these canonized images serve to promote, obscure, or conceal.
In his newest body of work, Barnard moves further into abstraction, foregrounding the dynamics of gesture, texture, and color—the color white in particular, especially its interaction with others. In many ways, this has meant a broadening of his palette and an exploration of color dynamics. It has also meant a kind of reckoning with Whiteness, which seems to resurge even after receding. These paintings then reflect at once a reverence for the power of the painted image and an admission of painting’s historical complicity with hegemonic power.
In Deepwater Horizon a tiny white swirl ascends from the deep blue at the bottom center of the painting suggesting an oil spill coming up to the surface. The pivotal composition suggests looking down into the water from above, the surface of the painting becoming the surface of the water, the trickle of white bubbling up and carrying with it paint scraps of all different colors, resulting in thick white paint resting on the water’s/painting's surface.
In White Tide, the exhibition's namesake painting, white is “a rising tide, coming in waves, unending”, overtaking and destroying its own environment. Barnard employs white paint as a compositional parasite, able to alter, subsume, and even destroy all that it touches. In Invasive Species, thick white paint seeps into the cracks between bright colors, insipidly dominating the canvas. Through these and other works in the exhibition, Barnard confronts ideas of surface and substance, drawing the language of abstract painting provocatively into conversation with contemporary social issues.
Chris Barnard was born 1977 in New York. He received his MFA from USC's Roski School of Fine Art and his BA from Yale University. His work has been presented at the Cummings Art Center, Denison Museum of Art, Sam Lee Gallery, Taylor de Cordoba Gallery, The Art Students League of New York, and numerous group exhibitions, including The New World, Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art; Theologies of Complexity, Cal-State Long Beach; Shut Up and Keep Swimming, Jail Gallery; and Supersonic2 at Wight Gallery/UCLA. Chris lives and works in New London, CT, where he is Assistant Professor of Art at Connecticut College.
For further information and inquiries about works in the exhibition, please contact the gallery at 310-838-6000, or email [email protected].
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is located at 2685 S. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10am – 6pm, and by appointment.