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May 6, 2017 - June 3, 2017 

Opening Reception is Saturday, May 6, 6 – 8 PM 

Sweet Spot Series is Saturday, June 3, 2pm – Artist talk with Chris Barnard & Michael Angelis and a musical performance by Libby Van Cleve

Fred Giampietro gallery is pleased to present Root Rot, an exhibition of paintings by Chris Barnard. 

In this body of work, Barnard focuses on White Supremacy’s relationship to the privileged spaces he frequents, such as art and educational institutions, and the role of those institutions in the perpetuation of racial violence. For Barnard, the particularities of the present socio-political context prompt an array of questions about painting—its purposes, possibilities, imperfections, and implications. What, for example, is and isn’t being depicted, is and isn’t being seen, in artwork? When wrestling with racial violence, what paths might be forged to illuminate without fetishizing, lay bare without lecturing, own up without self-congratulating? What might taking responsibility for Whiteness in order to renounce it look like, rendered in oil, on cotton cloth, stretched on trees? Is it even possible?

Prolific twitter presence Son of Baldwin recently asked, Why do these white artists always want to depict black suffering, but never the white malice that causes it?” It’s an important question that Barnard engages in his work, attempting to place the perpetrators of racial violence where they so often are—exonerated, unindicted, in the middle of the frame, up on the pedestal, predators in plain sight.

In many of the compositions, which reference real spaces, Barnard has inserted fictional features that point to potential allegiances, investments, priorities, and unearned-and-yet-protected benefits. The resulting works are representational, but through gesture, color and surface manipulation, Barnard suggests instability, corrosion or decay. These works are the product of imperfect efforts to paint some of the evidence of things “seen” and “not seen” and to situate that evidence in ways that point back to our institutional and personal complicity with racism. 

- Lauren Anderson, 2017

Barnard’s work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and San Diego, among other locations. He received his BA from Yale and his MFA from The University of Southern California. He is an Assistant Professor of Art at Connecticut College and lives with his partner in New Haven, CT.

In a recent statement, Michael Angelis wrote, “This new body of work is by no means an apogee, it’s instead an ongoing exploration of process, repetition and iconography. The loose representational imagery is mostly rendered from memory, although some referential work is involved as well. The symbolism of that imagery has personal meaning around themes of value, loss, hierarchy, authenticity and consumption. These themes I feel have always been present in my work, but were expressed more outwardly or perhaps subjectively in earlier pieces . . . Each piece in this ongoing series will, I hope, eventually serve as a kind of hieroglyph in a language that explains my purpose for creating artwork and will continue to evolve through changes in life, imagery, and physical interaction with materials.” Michael Angelis lives and works in New Haven, CT. Angelis received an MEA from the Teachers College at Columbia and his BFA from SUNY Purchase. His work has been included in many local exhibits.