Traditional portraiture is reimagined in an exploration of concealment and identity by Shawn Huckins


#acrylic painting #art history #clothing #painting #portraits #textiles

“The Artist’s Wardrobe, Mary Greene (to Copley)” (2022). All images © Shawn Huckins, shared with permission

A new series of paintings by New Hampshire-based artist Shawn Huckins (formerly) proposes to think in a fresh light about how we wear clothes and textiles. Dirty laundry continues the artist’s interest in reinterpreting 18th- and 19th-century European portraiture, an artistic tradition steeped in symbolism and subtle commentary on wealth and class. The garments of the subjects of painters such as John Singleton Copley or Adriaen van der Werff reflected their status and self-esteem through clothing and accessories. Jean-Léon Gérôme’s depiction of a Bashi-Bazouk, a soldier of the Ottoman Empire, is a prescient comment on the nature of dress and uniform, as the conscripts were often unpaid and dressed in a haphazard mix of pieces they had on the march acquired .

Huckins puts a playful, contemporary spin on the idea of ​​expressing one’s identity through fabric by almost completely obscuring the faces of his subjects, prompting the viewer to think about what it means to be veiled or exposed. . The artist recreated the compositions in the studio by draping a model with a variety of garments, mimicking the direction and temperature of light in the original works in acrylic paint.

With their faces completely covered, the keepers are identified only by objects such as a string of pearls, a beloved dog, or a handful of fruit. Huckins said in a statement that “everything else that is known about these people remains hidden under piles of dust and clothing so ubiquitous it could be ours.” Using modern fabrics such as buffalo plaid or gingham, the artist considers how we all dress to convey information about ourselves.

Dirty laundry is also the title of the artist’s upcoming solo exhibition with Duran Mashaal Gallery in Montréal, which opens June 2. You can find more of his work on his website and Instagram. (via Creative Tree)

“Various fabrics, Bashi-Bazouk (after Gerome)” (2022)

“Red and Black, Mrs. Freeman Flower (to Highmore)” (2022)

“Pattern No. 4, Winslow Warren (after Copley)” (2022)

“Yellow and Blue, Portrait of a Lady (after Hudson)” (2022)

“Various fabrics, Margareta Rees (after van der Werff)” (2022)

“Various fabrics, John Park with dog (after Stuart)” (2022)

“American Portrait, Elizabeth Murray (after Copley)” (2022)

#acrylic painting #art history #clothing #painting #portraits #textiles

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