The paintings and drawings in London artist Hurvin Anderson’s latest solo appearance at this serene uptown gallery fall into three groups: The first depicts trees as dabs and traceries of pigment forming intricate, flickering networks reminiscent of those found in the work of fellow Brit Peter Doig or Californian artist David Korty. The second consists of more overtly abstract agglomerations of opaque, hard-edged shapes – some in rich color, others in darker or more muted tones – that bring AbEx master Hans Hoffmann to mind. The third present Andy Warhol-esque takes on significant individuals from black history, with black-and-white images placed against tan backgrounds.
Illuminating this otherwise arbitrary-seeming collection is the fact that Anderson was raised in multiracial Birmingham, England, where he absorbed Anglo-Saxon and African-Caribbean influences in equal measure. The abstract works echo the industrial city’s abundance of brutalist architecture, suggesting aestheticized takes on labyrinthine housing projects, while the two canvases featuring Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and Marcus Garvey allude to his hometown’s racial mix through reference to other times and places. The tree paintings, for their part, occupy a space that is harder to define, a zone that endures beyond the explicitly urban identities and histories explored elsewhere in the show.