Conor Harrington has always been an enigma. He doesn't overly share, doesn't grab a bullhorn to express his beliefs; it's all there in the work. Through 3x on the cover of Juxtapoz, there is a pattern of anti-authority, understanding the past, confronting a history and tradition that may no longer apply and the struggle to come to grips with that identity crisis is at the heart of Conor's work. It's about a struggle, both internal and political, that plagues us.  “I’ve been painting 18th Century European archetypes for many years now, as for me they represent an almost cartoon-like representation of European excess and arrogance," Harrington said recently. "It was a time of great opulence and ego and this is best summed up in their clothes. The men wore frock coats, silk stockings, shoes with stacked heels, shiny buckles and coloured ribbons. They look incredibly feminine by today’s standards and I find this an interesting way to explore questions around masculinity and gender."


It seems like the perfect time for a Conor Harrington solo show, and When the Ship Goes Down, on view at CONTROL Gallery starting on March 31, feels both understated but bold. There is that enigma here, once again, not pounding the pavement for you to understand his motifs but something more subtly substantial. The characters themselves almost look perplexed in the works, as if they have been thrown through a time-machine to make sense of their past, present or future. What do we do with our cultural motifs? What do we do with the weight of tradition? Through a series of oil paintings and brilliantly executed charcoal on paper works, Harrington has an eye on the current political landscape but something perhaps more individual than just a vote at the ballot box. It's about where do we go from here and how to untangle ourselves from a history many of us never chose. —Evan Pricco

Opening reception: Friday, January 31, 7-9pm
434 N La Brea Ave
Los Angeles