Hurvin Anderson: Anywhere but Nowhere

Giovanni Aloi
The Arts Club of Chicago
April 9–August 7, 2021
Hurvin AndersonAnywhere but Nowhere, exhibition view, The Arts Club of Chicago, 2021. © Hurvin Anderson / SOCAN (2021)
Photo: Michael Tropea.
The Arts Club of Chicago
April 9–August 7, 2021
The intense palette, bold brushwork, and intriguing flickering of flatness and three-dimensionality reveal the competence of a consummate artist, intimately aware of painting’s ability to complicate our relationship with time and space like no other medium. Hurvin Anderson: Anywhere but Nowhere at The Arts Club of Chicago is a powerful and aesthetically original statement about diaspora, memory, and identity. The artist’s visions of the Caribbean are in direct contrast to the colonialist photographic imagery produced by American and British banana companies and hoteliers during the second half of the nineteenth century. The colours are vibrant, the mood is bright, but for the most part humans remain idle. This is not the Caribbean tourist destination we have become used to.

Curiously aligned to Edward Hopper’s ability to evoke an existentialist kind of hollowness, Anderson’s paintings are hauntingly silent, yet vibrant. Overabundant exotic vegetation reclaims the concrete ruins of a colonial past that has defined these islands as much as the lives of those who left them. Loose brushstrokes, complete with drips, are at times unleashed upon the canvas with abstract expressionist impetuousness. Sometimes, delicate and intricate outlines delineate vegetal repetitions and motifs that convey an uncontainable sense of presence and liveliness. These are not images of ruins, passive lamentations of a bygone glorious time, or even statements of accusation against the colonialist powers that lurk underneath the painted surfaces.

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