Ugly Art Room Presents Jordan - Whitfield
Curated by Martin Esteves
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 21st, 2011
Exhibition Hours: Sunday, January 22nd, 11am-6pm
Ugly Art Room @ Gleason's Gym
77 Front St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Ugly Art Room explores the tension created from a face off between two portraits. Josh Jordan and Barnaby Whitfield explore super self-regard with whit, no end of skill, and mirrored humor. Two portraits share a small space allowing for contemplation and heightened discourse between them. The lead up for the viewer is through a gym, into a boxing ring, then pressed in to a small white cube, typical of the UAR placement in service of the art.
Self-portraiture was neither co-opted by photography nor halted by the "death of painting." Rather, modern themes in art and the discovery of the subconscious lent to new and fantastic depictions of the self. Frida Khalo could illustrate the pain of her back and break free in the form of a deer without the being accused of lunacy. 
To say that this can tend towards excess is not a bad thing. Shape changing indulgence is an advantage to be taken of when the medium allows for a wanton imagination. Today, drawing and painting are still a useful shorthand for creative suggestion without the unblinking nature that something like photography poses.
Furthermore, the continuing vitality of drawing and painting is helped in part by a new distrust of photography and the digital image. With the validity of Robert Capa's falling soldier in question, photoshop cartooning “reality,” and a growing distrust of subjective journalism, the visceral hand of fiction returns to a livelier and truer statement. Less factual, but more real, the image that makes no claim to pure evidence wears it's exaggerated argument proudly.
And why not, with this more salient and loaded language, would one not say what they want about themselves?