Meticulous Acrylic Paintings by Shawn Huckins Erase Historic Works from the White House Art Collection

June 26, 2018

Andrew LaSane

“My Button Is Bigger Than Your Button” (Marquis De Lafayette, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 7)

At first glance, Colorado-based artist Shawn Huckins’ “Erasure” series looks like a collection of images that have been altered using a digital eraser tool to reveal the empty checkered pattern layer beneath. A closer look reveals that the works are actually meticulously detailed acrylic paintings, recreations selected from the White House Art Collection. Superimposed on the works are hand-painted erasure marks that serve as a commentary on the ideas of history, legacy, and whether or not those things can be wiped away in the present.

While the patterned marks range from measured and uniform to seemingly haphazard flourishes, for Huckins the resulting “obliteration” of history is the same. “The underlying works chosen for this series originally served as testaments of those who came before us and the indelible mark they left on the world, in a very short time, not so long ago,” the artist said in a statement. “In an era where the internet makes everyone a publisher, and digital editing tools bestow the power to create realities out of pixels, The Erasures forces us to examine our assumptions regarding the longevity of individual influence and institutions, thus raising enormous questions concerning the fragility of legacy.”

Huckins shares with Colossal that the collection of paintings are his “response to the current US administration’s policies and ethics surrounding a divisive country.” In his statement he poses several questions to the viewer about one person’s ability to “erase the impact of another,” whether or not longstanding ideals are more easily erased than recent progress, and how the events of today will be “recorded, judged and preserved when anyone can create, or re-create, his or her own reality with a keystroke, or a mouse-swipe, or a dead-of-night tweet?”

Shawn Huckins will debut 18 paintings from the Erasure series as a part of an upcoming solo exhibition titled Fool’s Gold, which opens at Modernism Gallery’s new space in San Francisco on July 11, 2018.

“Nothing Rhymes With Orange” (George Washington, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 5)

“If Only I Could Remember Your Name” (Mary Elizabeth Woodbury, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 8)

“The Most Beautiful Place Is Far From Here” (Rocky Mountain Scene, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 16)

“Loneliness Of Leaker” (John Adams, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 20)

“He Said. She Said. She Said.” (Julia Gardiner Tyler, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 18)

“Tell It Like It Was” (First Lady Caroline Harrison, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 3)

“Planet B” (Pastoral Landscape, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 6)

“Me, Myself, And Hypocrisy” (George Washington, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 13)

 

 

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