Continuing the Latin American theme that has been running in several exhibitions in London this summer, Venezuelan artist Alvaro Barrington (born Caracas in and now living in New York) has been at the Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Mayfair, but with a twist – not one of his own paintings was on show.
Alvaro and Julia Peyton-Brown jointly curated the exhibition in the elegant white 18th century spaces, not of Alvaro’s own paintings, but of work by artists who have influenced him, with the upstairs staircase landing having a riot of books from his studio of artists not on display, while notes, comments, postcards and photographs were placed informally next to many of the paintings as if they were in his studio.
The two fascinating things were how well the work is framed by the architectural details and joinery of Ely House and the other was how wide the influences on his work have been, running through different themes including line, colour, energy and materials.
Louise Bourgeois’ ‘Janus in Leather Jacket’ hangs in the long entrance hall along with other works fitted within the architecture framework including Nari Ward’s ‘Anchoring Encasement: Mahogany Ithaca’, Laura Owens’ ‘Untitled’ and Joseph Beuys’ blackboard ‘Ecology and Socialism’, while in the front room, paintings including Philip Guston’s ‘High Heel’ were framed by the architectural panel mouldings.
The vaulted arches of the Berkeley Gallery had Robert Rauschenberg’s ‘Red Crawler Glut’ in the centre of the room with the walls showing work by a variety of artists including Georg Baselitz, Trevor Shimizu, Thornton Dial, Denzil Forrester and Jean-Michel Basquiat, while Amelia Barratt took over the understairs space not often used by artists with her ‘Study for Dog’.
On the upstairs landing, in addition to the book, was a surprise – a huge work by Katherine Grosse which filled the space completely while down the corridor and into the Library were works by Elizabeth Murray (currently on show at the Camden Arts Centre), Howard Hodgkin, Robert Colescott, Andy Warhol and others.
What was missing was Alvaro’s own work, which was own show here in 2018 and I guess will return soon, bookmarking ‘Artists/Steal From.’ Remember what you have seen, when he returns…..