The highlight of the exhibition 'Hidden Histories' is a newly printed map of Oxford titled 'The Shoulders of Giants'. Mychael Barratt’s solo exhibition is indeed an exploration of the past, through the eyes of an enthusiast and cultural polymath.
Mychael’s work is largely influenced by history, literature, art, theatre and film. In his on-going series ‘Artists' Cats and Dogs’, he re-imagines renowned artists via a pet; Modigliani's Dog sits poised for his portrait, while Hockney’s dogs snuffle through vivid English landscapes; Wes Anderson’s dog stares out from a perfectly symmetrical composition in the style of one of the director’s visually striking feature films. Banksey's Dog takes a jump for a ball, the image is then shredded.
In other works, we find ourselves at gatherings of artists from across the centuries, listening in on what would be fascinating conversations. In his series ‘After Bruegel’, we see contemporary London cast as the setting of 16th century Holland. The huntsmen in the snow are now dog-walkers at Richmond Park, and the farm-workers gathering corn with scythes are now lunch-time picnickers on Primrose Hill.
These works are not designed as facsimiles or parodies; nor are they fawning or obsequious. Mychael’s aim is to enthuse the viewer, and connect with our own admiration for these great artists. We are being let in on a well-meaning joke or sharing wry observation.
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