Alvaro Barrington’s paintings take on a lifetime

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When the two met at a preview during Barrington’s first ever week in London, Rosenthal was impressed with the talkative young painter, but thought the work still needed a little cooking. Two years later, Rosenthal “is blown away by the energy of his New York show”.

Barrington was born in Venezuela to a Haitian DJ father and a Grenadian seamstress mother. Brooklyn was home during his formative years, where he was raised collectively by his grandmother and aunts after his mother passed away. This sense of community is echoed in his practice, which he describes as painting while flirting with sculpture, collage, poetry, hip-hop and tank design. This Renaissance man-style openness to adjacent genres is not unheard of, but Barrington’s approach to art leads to a welcoming feast for all.

It is in such demand that Barrington is represented by eight staggering galleries worldwide. In London, the blue chips Thaddaeus Ropac and Sadie Coles HQ, as well as the more sophisticated Emalin and Corvi-Mora. In Brazil, Mendes Wood DM markets its paints. In North America, it is the New Yorkers Karma and Nicola Vassell Gallery, then Blum & Poe in Los Angeles. “Constantly being in dialogues with differing opinions excites me – if I worked with just one merchant, I would find myself in just one conversation,” he says, giving a warm bro-shake to a fellow artist who approaches shyly. from our table. “Why be monogamous when I can learn different things from each relationship? »

Barrington’s Last Show, Life in pinkat the Ropac space in Salzburg in 2021.

Jeremy Cumberbatch

The galleries also seem happy with the arrangement. After a total of eight solo exhibitions in London, Paris and New York in 2021, Barrington recently opened his new exhibition, Life in pink, at the Ropac space in Salzburg. The title of the show refers to the poem by Tupac Shakur The rose that grew from the concrete and he looked at the ways we encounter beauty in the midst of urban struggle. It drew heavily on Barrington’s Black-Caribbean experience in London. An exceptional piece, Lady Sing the Blues @ Proud Mary left to right (2022), showed colorful threads, curlers, drums and a broom woven into a stretched burlap sack – a material he usually chooses over canvas as a sign of undervalued work and d a marginalized trade.

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