Traversing the realms of figuration and abstraction, U.K.-based Hurvin Anderson's landscapes, portraits and still lifes explore his Jamaican heritage while touching on themes of familial roots, dislocation, and the visibility of Blackness.Read More
Born in Birmingham to parents that immigrated from Jamaica to the United Kingdom, Anderson completed his BFA at the Wimbledon School of Art before receiving his MFA from London's Royal College of Art in 1998.
Through depictions of vibrant Caribbean landscapes and newly adopted spaces in the U.K., Anderson's motifs drift through the states of 'in-between-ness', exploring life lived between the two.
His references to the Caribbean come from a place of diasporic identity and distanced subjectivity, while his depictions of indoor and outdoor settings in the U.K., occupied by Caribbean immigrants, seek to represent the personal memories and shared Caribbean diasporic experience.
Spaces for social gatherings and economic exchange such as parks, public pools, and shops populate Anderson's work. Peter's Series: Back (2008), Flat Top (2008), and Peter's Sitters 3 (2009) imagine a barbershop, an industry assumed by many newly arrived Caribbean immigrants during the 1950s.
Simultaneously, representations of Black icons, such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, feature heavily in Anderson's canvases, owing to their importance to the visibility of Blackness within contemporary society and their revered status amongst his community.
Working from photographs, Anderson's paints both on canvas and paper, producing thoroughly textured and decorative works that traverse the realms of both abstraction and figuration, while reinforcing the elusivity of memory.
A 2017 trip to Jamaica culminated in the critically acclaimed show Anywhere but Nowhere (2021) at The Arts Club of Chicago, followed by Reverb (2021), a solo exhibition at London's Thomas Dane Gallery.
Reverb presented a number of his 'Jungle Garden' paintings, which draw reference from a dilapidated hotel the artist came across on a Jamaican beach. In these works, 'Anderson applies analytical consideration to the relationship between a man-made commercial site and the broader social and environmental ecologies of the island,' Ocula Advisory explains.
Anderson is also included in the landmark group exhibition at Tate Britain Life Between Islands: Caribbean British Art 50s — Now (2022), alongside artists such as Denzil Forrester, Peter Doig, and Aubrey Williams. Featuring three of Anderson's Caribbean landscapes and a new acquisition, Hawksbill Bay (2020), the works continue his exploration into his Jamaican heritage.
In 2022, Anderson will be participating in a group exhibition entitled Radical Landscapes at Tate Liverpool, before partaking in the Kingston Biennial, Jamaica in June 2022.
Works by Anderson infrequently arrive in the secondary market. However, at Sotheby's British Art Evening Sale in June 2020, Anderson's melancholic diptych titled Maracas (double) (2004), sold for £252,000, more than four times its high estimate.
In 2017, Anderson was shortlisted for the U.K.'s prestigious Turner Prize.
Hurvin Anderson's solo exhibitions include They Have a Mind of Their Own, Rat Hole Gallery, Tokyo (2019); Foreign Body, Michael Werner Gallery, New York (2016); Hurvin Anderson: Dub Versions, New Art Exchange, Nottingham (2016); Hurvin Anderson: Backdrop, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2016); Hurvin Anderson: Backdrop, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2015); Hurvin Anderson: reporting back, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2013); Hurvin Anderson: Subtitles, Michael Werner Gallery, New York (2011); Art Now: Hurvin Anderson, Tate Modern, London (2009); Hurvin Anderson, Thomas Dane Gallery, London (2008); A View on the River Cobre, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London (2006); New Paintings, Thomas Dane Gallery, London (2005); and Hurvin Anderson, Thomas Dane Gallery, London (2003).
Hurvin Anderon's group exhibitions include Mixing It Up: Painting Today, Hayward Gallery, London (2021); Fragments of Epic Memory, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2021); Graphic Pull: Contemporary Prints from the Collection, Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University, Durham (2020); Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2020); Manifesto: Art x Agency, The Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C. (2019); Get Up, Stand Up Now, Somerset House, London (2019); Stains on a Decade, Josh Lilley Gallery, London (2019); Vile Bodies, Michael Warner Gallery, London (2018); Turner Prize 2017, Ferens Art Gallery, Hull (2017); and Poetics of Relation, Pérez Art Museum, Miami (2015).
Hurvin Anderson's Instagram can be found here.
Annabel Downs | Ocula | 2021