Shawn Huckins

Region: West


City / State: Denver, CO

In 1800, Gilbert Stuart’s iconic full-length portrait of George Washington was installed at the White House, inaugurating the White House Art Collection, which was intended to provide a historical record enshrining American ideals and accomplishments. The paintings I choose as subjects for my series The Erasures are drawn from this collection.

The Erasures is a collection of historical paintings meticulously reproduced by hand and then obscured with a hand-painted checkerboard pattern. Familiar to Web and graphic designers, the gray-and-white motif signifies the software’s “eraser” tool. The editing marks superimposed on the paintings in The Erasures vary from random, spontaneous swipes covering part of the subject to structured, rectilinear shapes threatening to overtake it completely. Whether erasure is portrayed as a temperamental outburst or a methodically executed plan, the resulting obliteration is much the same. It is only in the series titles that we detect resistance to such a redaction of history.