Stephan Stoyanov/ Luxe Gallery proudly presents The Family Jewels, Hannah Barrett's series of paintings and drawings depicting a hermaphrodite master race; and Dorian, the Wallpaper Collection, Michelle Handelman's selection of ambient video loops from Dorian, a Cinematic Perfume, a project based on Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray.
In The Family Jewels, small Cranach-like icons portray an omnisexual elite enjoying their leisure in a fantasy realm reminiscent of William S. Burroughs'. Barrett creates an alternative pantheon by fusing the bodies of Hitler and Queen Elizabeth, ultimate symbols of blood-based superiority, and placing them in understated, highly charged settings. To accompany her first solo New York show, Barrett invites 2011 Guggenheim Fellow Michelle Handelman to exhibit photographs and videos from her acclaimed parable of decadence and narcissism, Dorian, a Cinematic Perfume. In this
video installation characters and musicians of the underground '80s club scene act out the extremes of youthful beauty and aging decomposition as symbolized by Dorian Gray's secretly blistering portrait. Dorian exists as a contemporary celebrity, destroyed by a vacant ambition.
While Barrett paints in oil and gold leaf on panel, and Handelman shoots in high definition video, both create a cast of morally and sexually ambiguous characters engaged in exclusive and rarified power games and rituals. Handelman's lush glamour and Barrett's meticulous craftsmanship conspire to reveal pristine surfaces that are shattered by conflicted emotions and dark history.
Hannah Barrett is a painter living in Brooklyn. Previously based in Boston, Barrett has spent a decade developing and exhibiting an oeuvre of androgynous portraiture. Barrett's work has been widely exhibited in galleries and museums throughout New England and is in the collection of the DeCordova Museum and numerous private collections. Barrett is the recipient of an Artadia Award and Travel fellowships from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Wellesley College.
Michelle Handelman, 2011 Guggenheim Fellow, makes confrontational works that explore the sublime in its various forms of excess and nothingness. Using video, photography, and live performance she creates visceral experiences subverting the role of the viewer, challenging them to confront their own identity. Her work is exhibited internationally including Pompidou Centre, Paris; ICA, London; American Film Institute; MIT List Visual Arts Center; and 3LD Art & Technology Center, NYC. Recent projects include Dorian, a Cinematic Perfume (Participant, Inc. ; MIT List Visual Arts
Center; Arthouse); The Laughing Lounge (Performa 05); and This Delicate Monster.