Viewing Christopher Hartmann: In and Out of Touch, Hannah Barry Gallery
Hannah Barry Gallery
3 June — 31 July 2021
Few people have shaken up London’s contemporary art scene like Hannah Barry. In 2007, she founded Bold Tendencies, a not-for-profit that champions emerging talent and produces a hugely popular summer programme of music, dance and opera on the rooftop of Peckham’s multi-storey car park. A year later, she opened her eponymous gallery in Peckham’s Holly Grove.
Celebrated for challenging the establishment, Barry’s gallery now represents a roster of rising stars, among them Rosie Grace Ward, Shaun McDowell, Mohammed Qasim Ashfaq and Christopher Hartmann, who is currently the subject of a new solo show.
Hartmann tends to focus on the ‘complex relationships shaped by alienation, intimacy and emotional attachment or detachment,’ he says. His figures are painted in a hyper saturated palette and have what he describes as ‘an artificial, digital character that makes reference to digital imagery.’
They are mostly slightly bigger than life size, boast smooth, unblemished skin — which make them ‘generic and repetitive, similar to social media filters’ — and seem to exist outside of specific time and place. They are often alone, evade eye contact or gaze past one another. A sense of isolation pervades each canvas.
In this age of social distancing, there’s something eerily relatable about Hartmann’s work. Just looking at will make you crave human touch — and a great, big hug. Which, thankfully, is back on the cards!