Born in Birmingham to parents that immigrated from Jamaica to the United Kingdom, Hurvin Anderson's work often references the Caribbean from a place of diasporic identity and distanced subjectivity.
'My struggle with Jamaica: I don't know it and I know it,' the artist once noted. 'I have this romantic vision of it and a lot of the painting is fighting that romance.'
Anderson is perhaps most known for predominately painting from photographs, often repeatedly revisiting the same iconography in multiple works to uncover often-overlooked tensions found in interior settings and natural landscapes. In 2017, Anderson was nominated for the U.K.'s prestigious Turner Prize, alongside Andrea Büttner; Lubaina Himid (who won), and Rosalind Nashashibi.
The works in Anderson's latest exhibition at Thomas Dane Gallery in London, titled Reverb (12 October–4 December 2021), draw reference from a dilapidated hotel situated on a Jamaican beach. In these 'Jungle Garden' paintings, Anderson applies analytical consideration to the relationship between a man-made commercial site and the broader social and environmental ecologies of the island.
Regarded for his purposefully non-didactic and ambiguous approach, Anderson's recent works have been interpreted to hold multiple, layered significations, from the strangeness of lockdown and resulting anxieties to critiques of gentrification and human-led environmental degradation.
Anderson recently received a critically acclaimed solo exhibition, Anywhere but Nowhere, at The Arts Club of Chicago (2021), which featured some works that will be on view in Thomas Dane Gallery's exhibition. One example titled Grace Jones (2020)—a relatively rare figurative painting by Anderson—depicts a brightly dressed figure descending a grayscale staircase situated amongst gorgeously viridescent tropical plant life.
Describing his intention for the work, Anderson explained, 'In Jamaica, people very rarely wear dark colours. There's always a brightness that projects them forward and it was irresistible to have this figure in this colour coming down those stairs.'
Anderson is also included in a landmark group exhibition upcoming at Tate Britain: Life Between Islands: Caribbean British Art 50s – Now.
Opening in December, the show includes artists from the Caribbean that have made their home in the U.K., as well as those from the U.K. that have drawn influence from Caribbean culture. Among the 40 artists included are Denzil Forrester, Peter Doig, Aubrey Williams, and Alberta Whittle. Works by Anderson infrequently arrive in the secondary market.
However, earlier this year at Sotheby's British Art Evening Sale: Modern and Contemporary, a melancholic diptych titled Maracas (double) (2004) sold for £252,000, more than four times it's high estimate—a whopping figure, indicating fraught demand between collectors for the artist's diaphanous works. —[O]
Main image: Hurvin Anderson, Grace Jones (2020) (detail). Courtesy the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery.