Hurvin Anderson

November 18, 2023
March 3, 2024

A major solo exhibition of paintings and drawings by Hurvin Anderson, celebrating his Barbershop series.

Organised by The Hepworth Wakefield in collaboration with Hastings Contemporary and Kistefos Museum, Norway.

The exhibition will focus on Anderson’s Barbershop series as a lens through which to understand Anderson’s wider practice and unique sense of history, memory and place.

Anderson first painted a Birmingham-based barbershop in 2006. For more than 15 years, Anderson has repeatedly reworked the same barbershop in a multitude of ways to experiment with key concerns in modern and contemporary painting, such as the tension between abstraction and figuration, and the painterly possibilities of capturing memories and experiences. By deconstructing and recreating the scene with objects derived from photographic documentation, Anderson explores the resonance of an image, raising questions about seeing, history, authenticity and the nature of experience. To give a tangible sense of his creative process, the exhibition will also include a display of Anderson’s sketches, drawings and studies.

The exhibition will present the most comprehensive presentation of the Barbershop series, from the very first painting and initial studio drawings made in 2006 to a new large-scale drawing and new painting begun in 2022, which will be the largest and final works in the Barbershop series. On display will be some of the most political works within this series, such as Is it OK to be Black? 2015, which was a 70th Anniversary Commission for the Arts Council Collection with New Art Exchange, Nottingham and Thomas Dane Gallery. This work includes depictions of significant figures in the Civil Rights movement, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, whose ideas and legacy remain important in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. The title responds to a mis-hearing of the typical barbershop question ‘is it ok at the back?’ and highlights the underlying social context of the barbershop.

Anderson was born in Birmingham in 1965 to Jamaican parents. He completed his BA at the Wimbledon School of Art in 1994, before receiving his MA from London’s Royal College of Art in 1998. Anderson was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2017 and his work is represented in public collections around the UK, USA and Europe.

A new book, edited by Eleanor Clayton and published by The Hepworth Wakefield, will accompany the exhibition.