|Childs Gallery is pleased to present the work of contemporary figurative painter Hannah Barrett, well known for her genre and gender bending portraits. Her series of invented portraits based on the Gibsons, a prominent Victorian Boston family, as seen in the exhibition "Tales from the House of Gibson" (Gibson House Museum, Boston, April-December 2010), are now are now on view at Childs Gallery through December 13.|
Lady Travesty along with Mr. Quackenboss and their clan descended from the staircase at the Gibson House Museum and walked around the corner to Childs Gallery on Newbury Street, where they hold court with other notables from the Gallery collection from November 9 – December 13. The Childs installation presents Barrett’s portraits in a broader conversation with American figurative styles while expanding the original Gibson House show with on-site drawings and preparatory collages. So that the Gibsons may still enjoy all the comforts of home, four new still-life paintings depicting household objects round out the show. The drinks and dishes of nuts are on hand so Mrs. Jump can help herself, as is Charlie Gibson’s pencil, should Lord Rambler suddenly need to jot down a line of poetry.
During their visit, Childs Gallery hopes to discover who these Gibson characters are: long-lost cousins of American regionalism, perhaps a vindication of the folk-loving modernist Eli Nadelman, or maybe more Old World: R.B. Kitaj meets Otto Dix, siblings of George Condo, or bridge partners of Grayson Perry? With its comprehensive collection of American and European art, and its commitment to challenging art historical canons with new scholarship and innovative programs, Childs Gallery is the perfect living room for this dialogue.
Meanwhile, Barrett’s portraits pick up the thread of a conversation initiated by the 2010 Childs show, Clothes make the man?. In this exhibition curator William Stover revealed how depictions of clothing can blur the boundaries of both gender and time. For instance, Stover juxtaposed Ignaz Gaugengigl’s Dandy, an invented 18th century figure by an early 20th century painter, with Barrett’s Lord Wagstaff, a monochromatic portrait based on 19th century sources. Abducted by Stover’s theoretical spaceship, the two figures shared an “out-of-time, out-of-gender experience.” Barrett’s fantastical Gibson characters are hybridized portraits of multiple family members and are therefore multi-gender. In Lord Rambler, Sister Rosamund steps out of Grandpa Warren, onto Beacon-Nahant Street, wearing a polka-dotted over-dress coat. At Childs Gallery, the spirits of Paul Cadmus and Jared French join Barrett’s re-imagined Gibsons through the looking glass.
Childs Gallery embraces this recreated Gibson family as they strut into the future wearing a many layered, multi-colored mantel of the past. The Gallery leads and follows Barrett’s Gibsons, as it too seeks to enter the future while maintaining its rich past. Childs Gallery is pleased to partner with Howard Yezerski, a long time force in Boston’s contemporary art world, in presenting the work of Hannah Barrett. The Howard Yezerski Gallery will be exhibiting another body of work by the artist, The Family Jewels, from November 19th – December 30th. From the other end of the spectrum, yet undeniably the same hand, the two shows complement each other and establish the range and flexibility of Barrett’s oeuvre.
Barrett’s work has been exhibited at: the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the National Museum of Women and the Arts, Washington DC; the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston; and the DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA. Featured in multiple group shows at many galleries, Barrett has had solo shows in Boston over the last decade and will have her first solo in New York in January 2012 at the Stephan Stoyanov Gallery. Barrett is on the faculty of Fine Arts at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and in the Master of Fine Arts department at the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University in Boston, MA.