Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to announce Heart Hands Eyes Mind, Barkley L. Hendricks’ first solo exhibition with the gallery. The show will include photographs, landscape paintings and the portrait paintings for which he has become most known, spanning over forty years of his artistic practice.
Hendricks has always worked between the realms of photography and painting, having studied with Walker Evans at Yale. He was introduced early on to portraiture through the perspective of the camera’s lens. The photographs in Heart Hands Eyes Mind, most of which have never been exhibited before, range from the candid street photograph, to landscape, to the portrait. They can be used to bridge seemingly varied formal themes that are in fact inextricably linked and continuously intertwined, evidence of Hendricks’ perpetual experimentation and evolution.
Throughout his career, Hendricks has refused to be boxed into a space designed by an outside force or market, and, much like his subjects, his practice is commanding, bold and without limitations to media or to form. His chief concerns lie in the moment, both in capturing it and creating it. The paintings are a direct engagement with art history, the tradition of portraiture and a confrontation of institutional portrayal of the black subject. And while the severity of the subject’s gaze can be piercing, Hendricks invokes a persistent humor through the titling of his pieces, mitigating the gravity of the message and allowing for an opening into the work.
Akin to Hendricks’ engagement with the old masters of European portraiture, his landscape paintings also create a discourse with history while intimately tying into his own experiences. He has routinely traveled to Jamaica for the past thirty years, a place of cultural significance that lends its physical beauty to the formal act of painting. Each piece is adorned with a gilded frame that transforms these encapsulated views into portals to another time. Every painting is made in one long day of sitting, representing a perspective that cannot be duplicated.
When viewing Hendricks’ work, either from the 70s, 80s, 90s or now, the experience is simultaneously of its time and timeless. This exhibition gives us the opportunity to be introduced and reintroduced to characters and spaces while traveling with the artist through his own exploration and discovery.
Barkley L. Hendricks was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and currently lives and works in New London, CT. He earned both his BFA and MFA from Yale University and was the subject of a large-scale traveling exhibition, Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool, organized by Trevor Schoonmaker at the Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina (2008), which traveled to the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2008-2009), Santa Monica Museum of Art, California (2009), Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia (2009-2010) and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Texas (2010).
His work is included in numerous public collections both within the United States and abroad, such as The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; The Tate Modern, London, UK; Studio Museum, Harlem, NY; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL; Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, NC; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; and the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.