Alvaro Barrington is a Venezuela born Grenadian-Haitian artist. He was raised between the Caribbean and New York, Barrington’s practice explores interconnected histories of cultural production. His series “Garvey” examines the cultural exchanges of early 20th century London and the Harlem Renaissance— both sites of large-scale migration from the Caribbean at the height of Modernism – and their ongoing influence on artistic output and notions of self-hood, sexuality, the soul, identity, nurture, nationality, punishment and death. Considering himself primarily a painter, Barrington’s multimedia approach to image-making employs burlap, textiles, postcards and clothing, exploring how materials themselves can function as visual tools while referencing their personal, political and commercial histories.
Born in Venezuela to Grenadian and Haitian migrant workers, and raised between the Caribbean and Brooklyn, New York, Barrington began to sew as a way to connect with his Grenadian aunts who were masterful sewists. Barrington has explored the formal action of sewing yarn as an entry into this long tradition of a gendered textile art practice, which was documented orally and passed down by the women in his family. His intimate compositions focus on single subjects in close-up, including faces, body parts, and tropical vegetation. Flamboyant tree and hibiscus flowers, in particular, have become personal motifs for the artist. In the series a different world, Barrington amends used postcards found while traveling through Europe illustrating lakes, rivers, and architectural icon with sewed interventions that fundamentally alter these landscapes, asserting an alternate narrative to those contained within stereotypical tourist images. The exhibition is installed with the same associative logic of the artist’s studio in London from the last two years.