Karen Barbour | Alicia Henry


dates: January 2 - February 27, 2016

opening Jan 2, 6-9pm

artists: Karen Barbour

Alicia Henry

How May I Help You? - Karen Barbour

Karen Barbour is a painter/illustrator working in San Francisco. Her work conveys curious narratives relating to real life and fantasy that are alternately dark and humorous. Karen is an award winning illustrator of books for children, including “I Have an Olive Tree” by Eve Bunting and “Marvelous Math: Poems selected” by Lee Bennett Hopkins, which was a Parents’ Choice Gold Award winner and a Reading Rainbow selection.                                          

I paint figuratively and abstractly, sometimes combining the two - I work in gouache and acrylic and also oil on wood and canvas. These are psychological interpretations of our perceptions of our bodies, possessions and place in the world. Fragmented figures feeling judged. Avoiding by dreaming about others - forms that humans struggle to maintain - whether their bodies or their gardens or their hair. Society always evaluating people by their body shapes - the clothing that shapes us - and protects us and presents an identity - same with our cars and houses etc. Undergarments that transform the human body - push up bras, falsies, darts, corsets, spanks. Transforming the body with electrolysis, liposuction, implants, chin implants. Conversations overheard and then illustrated. Mental illness, gossip, imaginings, trying to be perfect, anxiety, boredom, doubts, and everlasting dissatisfaction. Part imagination, part memory, part drawn from life.

Karen Barbour received her MFA in film from the San Francisco art Institute and has shown at Jack Hanley gallery (NYC), Anthony Meier Fine Arts (SF), and at The Shiseido Gallery in Tokyo etc. She has also done illustration work for The New York Times, Ralph Lauren Polo, and Mitsukoshi (the oldest surviving department store chain in Japan founded 1673). 

The Walk - Alicia Henry

Alicia Henry has an international reputation for her multi-media constructions of wood, fabric, paper, and pigment. These layers material are combined together usually as masks or figures to give the sense of collected history and accumulated experience. Alicia references folk-art craft traditions and the sense of ritual inherent in African art to express isolation and interaction.

A common recurring image in my work is the human figure-the figure in isolation and the figure interacting with others. My current work explores these ideas through the theme of the paper doll and paper cutouts. I re-examine the social relationship these images have had in shaping the stereotypical and idealized figures in the media by reinventing the paper doll and depicting generalized figures representing what I hope is a broader vision of society (racial, gender, economic, and social levels), my goal is to make visible that which still often goes unseen.

Alicia Henry received her B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her M.F.A. from Yale University. In addition to her Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Henry has been awarded many other grants, residencies, and awards. Henry is an Associate Professor in the Language and Arts Department at Fisk University.