Summary

Jersey depicts the interior of a barbershop in Kingsland, Jamaica. Two empty seats stand at the centre, with locks of cut hair on the floor. Objects on the counter behind the chairs, such as spray bottles, razors, hair dryers and electric shaving machines, are shown as simplified blocks of colours. The back wall is partially covered by posters that have been stripped of any detail and are depicted as coloured rectangles. Above them, two white horizontal bands represent fluorescent strip lights, while in the lower part of the composition horizontal grey lines suggest the pattern on the floor.

Anderson applies oil paint in a variety of consistencies, ranging from thin washes, which seep into one another, to areas of more evenly applied and thicker paint. Writing about Anderson’s use of oil paint, the critic Martin Herbert has observed:

Anderson’s art with its deliberate surface thinness, most closely shadows the 1970s works of Michael Andrews, another British painter who used his medium’s slippages to signify what he felt about a subject, and who tended to let his iconography melt outward from a tight Photorealist core, as if drifting inexorably into the fault zone of memory.

(Martin Herbert, ‘Hurvin Anderson: New Paintings’, Artforum, vol.44, no.2, October 2005, pp.287–8.)


Anderson’s paintings are generally derived from photographs that he has taken of a subject. He assembles these images to create collages that form the basis of his compositions. As critic Edward Caughlin has observed, Anderson is ‘interested in the distance that working from photographs affords him ... [It is] partly through this process that personal memory and perception enter the works.’ (Caughlin, [p.1].)

Anderson usually explores and reformulates different elements of the same subject across a number of drawings and paintings. The barbershop shown in Jersey, for example, has featured in a number of compositions, including Barbershop 2006 and Flat Tops 2008 (both Thomas Dane Gallery, London). Alongside this series, Anderson has also developed Peter’s Series 2007–8 (reproduced in Hurvin Anderson: Peter’s Series 2007–9, exhibition catalogue, Tate Britain, London 2009), a group of paintings and drawings exploring a single image of a make-shift barbershop in a private home. This series documents the arrival of Caribbean immigrants in Britain during the 1950s and 1960s, when barbershops were opened in people’s homes and served as social gathering spaces.

Further reading:

Hurvin Anderson: A View of the Rio Cobre, exhibition catalogue, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London 2006.
Edward Caughlin, ‘Hurvin Anderson: Meeting Points’, Hurvin Anderson: New Paintings, exhibition catalogue, Thomas Dane Gallery, London 2005.


Carmen Juliá

May 2010