Arts and Design

The painter uncovering portraiture’s dirty laundry – in pictures

During lockdown, New Hampshire-based artist Shawn Huckins began creating small abstract paintings based on the bold, plaid patterns in his wardrobe. Before long, he started juxtaposing piles of contemporary fabrics and 18th- and 19th-century portraiture in his series Dirty Laundry. ‘We use cloth to conceal,’ he says, ‘but also to express.’

For each portrait, Huckins puts a studio mannequin in the exact position of the sitter in the original, then builds layers of fabric over it and paints the final result. ‘The work is about self-discovery and identity, but also the secrets we keep,’ he says. ‘We all have dirty laundry, literally and figuratively.’


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