Shawn Barber opened his latest solo show last night at Joshua Liner Gallery in NYC entitled "Memoir: The Tattooed Portraits Series,” an exhibition of 25 new paintings by the Los Angeles-based artist. The exhibition was presented in conjunction with the limited edition hardcover release of Memoir: The Tattooed Portraits Series book. This is the third volume in Barber’s ongoing series documenting the world and artistry of contemporary tattoo.
Making appearences are portraits of some of the tattoo world’s heaviest hitters with the likes of Grime, Don Ed Hardy, Hannah Atichison and Shige to name but a few. The Shige piece is truly stunning in person taking up three large panels and measuring in at 6-x-9-feet, Barber’s Portrait of the Japanese artist(2010–12) is a panorama with nine full-length views of the tattooist, rendered in the nude to reveal the majesty of his own bodily canvas. It’s worth noting that the work is Barber’s largest piece to date.
On the other end of the gallery a large canvas showcasing James Spencer Briggs at Work on Aaron Wahlman (2011–12) offers its audience a window into the processes, and protocols of a tattoo parlor with its masterful rendering of the tattooists intricate paraphernalia and the clients intense and personal experience.
|Oil on Canvas 2012 48 x 60 in.|
The galleries second room offers a wall lined up with a series of small still life’s that isolate the distinctive hardware of specific tattoo artists, such as Daily Driver, Micky Sharpz Liner Machine and Single Needle Shader (2012), these pieces are a window into the personalized and distinctive tools used by the masters that are rarely seen in public. Hanging in the center of the same room is Abstracted Self Portrait (2010–12) which pairs multiple views of Shawn’s arms and other limbs in motion as free-floating examples of contemporary ink, it’s worth noting that the piece showcase’s a brighter pallet from Shawn than I am used to seeing.
|Oil on Canvas 2012 36 x 68 in.|
Other works include an intimate moment captured in time between tattooist Jason Kundell and his daughter Lula, a head study of fellow painter and tattooist Henry Lewis and both a macro and mico take on Freddy Corbin’s “temple.”
Shawn’s latest, beautifully put together book was also up for grabs, it displays the current exhibition in full and pretty much every other major work from the artist since his last publication was released. A loving forward by actress/comedian Margaret Cho and and NeedlesandSins.com blogger, Marisa Kakoulas, who provides the volume’s introduction, serve as a great opening to this limited, signed and numbered (edition of 100,) hardcover coffee table book.
|Hardcover Book, 2012.|
Those who attended the opening were treated to a very friendly and open Barber who was only too happy to pose for pictures and discuss the work with his many fans… and with the theme of the works being tattoos you know the crowed themselves were walking canvas all worth admiring in their own right!
Memoir: The Tattooed Portraits Series will be on display till July 28th, make sure you brave the summer heat and make it down to the gallery in the next month for some truly inspirational work.