Now on view at David Lusk Gallery in WeHo, Pinkney Herbert’s exhibition “Come Here” offers a collection of the artist’s paintings and drawings that together create a memorable compilation of abstraction, aggression, movement, form, color and, perhaps above all, ambiguity.
Herbert has exhibited his work around the world and splits his own time between Memphis and New York City — a lifestyle that finds its way into his dynamic, frenetic and multifaceted pieces. Herbert achieves such movement in his static work through layering, digital printing, graffiti techniques, bold color and a combination of unique forms. This approach serves as a perfect complement to the artist’s variety of inspiration, yielding results that speak distinctly to contemporary times.
“Art history, architecture, maps, music and digital technology also inform Herbert as his work often serves as a reflection of the dense, frenetic, saturated state of contemporary life,” according to a release from David Lusk Gallery. “Herbert enjoys adding things together, creating complications and ambiguity. Along the way, he strips action painting of its heroic stature and gains latitude to contradict himself as he sees fit.”
Of course, this contradiction is one of the most contemporary things about the work in “Come Here” and a Herbert signature. It’s readily apparent in his piece Warm Family, for instance. Highlighting that fact, the gallery shared a quote from author and Columbus State University painting and drawing professor Orion Wertz, who wrote about Herbert for Burnaway.
“Herbert’s lines are dubious: they are self doubting, they play tricks, they lie,” Wertz wrote, per the gallery. “Has the mark been applied or wiped off? Has it been photographed or printed? Is the print a truthful account, or another kind of fabrication?”
Ultimately, the answers to those questions will remain unknown to visitors. But as is made clear through Herbert’s elevated use of bold ambiguity, that uncertainty is merely a reflection of our times.
Herbert holds a bachelor’s degree from Rhodes College and a master’s in fine art from the University of Memphis. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission and USIA-Arts America. His work has been collected by the New Orleans Museum of Art, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, the Arkansas Arts Center and more.
David Lusk Gallery is located at 516 Hagan Street in WeHo.