Andrew Hunt

  • Allison Katz, M.A.S.K., 2021, oil on linen, 63 × 57 1⁄8".

    Allison Katz

    Allison Katz’s “Artery” was what could be called an art critic’s dream. Three reviews had already appeared by the time I got to it a few weeks after it opened—from Sydney via Heathrow, jet-lagged and disoriented. Somehow, though, the writers seemed to miss important elements of the exhibition, which consisted of thirty confounding paintings, ceramics, and prints, all representational but in a variety of styles. It went unremarked that the works had clearly been made to fit precisely into the two large rooms of Camden Art Centre in which they were displayed; the fact that turned out to be crucial.

  • Teresa Solar, Osteoclast (I do not know how I came to be on board this ship, this navel of my ark), 2021. Installation view, Exchange Flags, Liverpool. Photo: Mark McNulty.
    slant June 17, 2021

    Across the Universe

    TAKING THE GUISE of a shape-shifting, benevolent creature composed of several interrelated yet sometimes conflicting personalities—seer, hedonist, eroticist, scholar, and scientist, we could call them—across its nine institutional and temporary sites, the eleventh Liverpool Biennial is the latest global exhibition to treat curating as social practice. Cued by wall text as well as a global pandemic, the ideal viewer will approach this gentle giant with an open mind about the body’s potential to connect across cultures and world history.

    Titled “The Stomach and the Port” and curated by Manuela

  • View of “Jamie Crewe,” 2020. From left: “Morton”—“Beedles”—“An abyss”, 2020; “The Ideal Bar”—“Le Narcisse”—“Alec’s”, 2020. Photo: Jules Lister.

    Jamie Crewe

    In 2017, the Northern England city of Hull received UK City of Culture status. Ensuing investment transformed Humber Street, one of the city’s old warehousing thoroughfares, into what could be described as a twenty-first-century fantasy of a Victorian cobbled harbor area quite distinct from the banal surrounding cityscape. A similar mild discord was evident in Jamie Crewe’s exhibition “Solidarity & Love,” which focused on contemporary folk culture and nonbinary identity.

    The show was divided into two spaces—a darkened video room and a daylit space containing sculpture and print—with works in both

  • Denzil Forrester, Itchin & Scratchin, 2019, oil on canvas, 107 7⁄8 × 81 1⁄8".

    Denzil Forrester

    Denzil Forrester’s recent rise as a significant force in painting has been as unexpected as it is apposite. Following shows in 2016 at New York’s White Columns and London’s Tramps, and in 2019 at London’s Stephen Friedman Gallery, his recent most exhibition, “Itchin & Scratchin,” was an attempt to represent his forty-year career.

    Forrester arrived in the UK from Grenada in 1967, when he was eleven. In the London of the 1980s, his early works didn’t simply reflect black communities’ countercultural expression through music and the reggae, dub, and dancehall clubs where it thrived and where he was

  • Katherine Bradford, Leg Hold, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 60 × 48".

    Katherine Bradford

    In Katherine Bradford’s painting Push Pull, 2019, a featureless, androgynous individual is held centrally in the frame by a number of roughly hewn limbs reaching from the left and the right of the canvas. They buttress the figure in an aggressive manner but, strangely, also support and even care for it. Is this “push pull,” or tug-of-war, between figure and ground a form of protection or a confrontation? Some of the other paintings in Bradford’s recent exhibition “Legs and Stripes,” such as Choice of Heads, 2019, and Leg Hold, 2019, ask the same question. The former, hewn in layers of bright

  • Florian Krewer, nice dog, 2019, oil on canvas, 86 1⁄2 × 67".

    Florian Krewer

    These are exciting times for figurative painting. Promising new talents keep turning up. Among the latest arrivals is Florian Krewer, until recently one of Peter Doig’s students at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Like the work of his teacher, Krewer’s eccentric explorations appear by turns hysterical and catastrophic. His pictures of adolescents hanging out in indeterminate urban locations show them caught in a kind of relaxed, abject splendor. Their faces, with Edvard Munch-like contortions or Francis Bacon-like smears, suggest they live a lifestyle founded on nihilism, caught in a state of

  • Behrang Karimi, Air, 2017–19, oil on canvas, 41 3⁄8 × 70 7⁄8".

    Alastair Mackinven and Behrang Karimi

    Initially, Maureen Paley’s website presented little information about this exhibition of new paintings by Alastair Mackinven and Behrang Karimi: only an image of an ornate twin-spouted vinaigrette vessel—a nod, perhaps, to the artists’ shared love of enigma. A few days later, a fragmented press text reinforced this notion. In it, Mackinven wrote, “Red pink and purple . . . from the comedian the audience wants new material, from the touring band the audience wants old material and from the artist . . .” Raising questions of artistic consistency and gregarious eclecticism, Mackinven’s text continued:

  • Katja Seib, You made your bed, now sleep in it, 2018, oil on burlap, 51 3⁄4 × 35 7⁄8".

    Katja Seib

    A series of stylishly sinister oppositions set the scene for this exhibition by German painter Katja Seib, in which real and imagined portraits merged with a mannered symbolism. The self-conscious, carefully rendered large-scale works downstairs contrasted with more informal, and generally much smaller, paintings upstairs. Within the context of this pristine blue-chip gallery space, Seib’s works’ deceptive ambiguity existed as a glitteringly corporate criticality that posed paradoxical questions around painting’s relation to time. The exhibition’s title, “dear diary,” hinted at the revelation

  • Tai Shani, Dark Continent: SEMIRAMIS, 2018, mixed media. Installation view. Photo: Jules Lister.

    Tai Shani

    “Dark Continent: SEMIRAMIS,” Tai Shani’s exhibition at the Glasgow International festival this past spring—a four-day event that included actors performing the artist’s scripts within a sculptural installation—was roundly praised by critics, so it was interesting to see her subsequent exhibition in Leeds, which expanded on some of the ideas deployed in that project. “Semiramis” envisioned a kind of city of women with twelve key characters that Shani has developed over the past four years. Occupying the entire building, the show extended from the downstairs foyer—where literary

  • View of “Pia Camil,” 2018. Photo: Stuart Whipps.

    Pia Camil

    My short visit to Nottingham in July came at first as a relief from the unusual heat in London, but then I noticed that a palpable anxiety had taken hold since I was last there a couple of years earlier: I witnessed two people crying in the street, one of them on the phone openly discussing his mental health and political views between bursts of hysteria. Through its evocation of physical and psychological borders and, by implication, the global resurgence in nationalism and the ideological duplicity of Donald Trump’s Mexican border wall and Theresa May’s Brexit, Pia Camil’s exhibition “Split