Nathalie Karg Gallery is pleased to present Maintenance, a show of new work by Peter Barrickman. In this series of new paintings and drawings, Barrickman uses the Natural History Museum as a place from which to consider and reimagine mortality, show business and the job.
Pictorial at heart, the paintings in the exhibition frame views of taxidermy, faux ruins and the staged environments that one may find in a museum setting. The artist draws our attention to include the features that normally ask to be forgotten, many of which bring a public exhibition space up to code: restrooms, air vents, drinking fountains, access panels, fire alarms, speakers and the HVAC system.
The painting Nights and Weekends takes its title from the designation of an employee’s availability. The artist himself, a former longtime museum employee, considers many of these paintings to refer to an unseen worker making the rounds while on the clock. These interior views move within a kaleidoscope of collection holdings with access to what is between the front and back of house, between guests, between display vintages, and between capital campaigns. Several of the works in Maintenance mash up this museum space with its dioramas and utility features, imagining the formation a new, indoor wilderness.
As a body of work, these paintings connect through changes in appearance. Collaged grounds or plastered surfaces hold a range of painting styles that reward the viewer through the friction of continued passage between them. Unsettled, drybrush passages reveal numerous color histories while overpainted metallic surfaces shift endlessly in light.