Born to Grenadian and Haitian parents and raised between the Caribbean and New York, Barrington’s practice explores interconnected histories of cultural production. Although resolutely a painter Barrington’s multimedia approach to image-making employs burlap, textiles, postcards and clothing, exploring how materials themselves can function as visual tools while referencing their personal, political and commercial histories. Barrington’s practice celebrates communities using their own cultural language, stemming from his formative years growing up in Grenada, soaking in the carnival culture and atmosphere he witnessed there. Barrington extracts the materiality and aesthetics from these fading memories in many of his paintings, often depicting body parts and native Caribbean vegetation.
Sewing features in many works, acting as a direct reference his familial ties and their history. The yarn in A Different World – If Chosen I May Not Run series was woven by his aunts back in Grenada whilst the burlap he often paints on references cacao farming he saw whilst in Barbados. Barrington uses yarn in his larger painted works to represent portraits of friends and relations, here he imagines these as fictitious black portraits inserted into the old fashioned landscapes and scenes on the postcards. Their homespun craftiness transgressing the prim historic images beneath.
Barrington gained his MFA from the Slade School of Art in 2017 and BFA from Hunter Collage in New York in 2013. Recent solo shows include: ‘Garvey: Sex Love Nurturing Famalay’, Sadie Coles HQ, London, UK (2019), ‘A Taste of Chocolate’, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London (2018) and ‘Alvaro Barrington’, curated by Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA PS1, Queens, New York, 2017.
Works from the series A Different World - If Chosen I May Not Run (2017) are currently on loan to Tramshed Project London, 2020-2021.