Emmeric Konrad doesn’t paint to make you comfortable. A stalwart icon of the Downtown Los Angeles art scene, he has been puckishly scrawling out contentious paintings in the most appropriate places in town since 1990. And if he decides to paint your portrait, you might be wise to be a little nervous. Konrad’s sketchy, expressionist paintings are likenesses without looking much like the subject’s exterior. Part Egon Schiele, part Ralph Steadman and part Willem De Kooning, Konrad is going to show your filthy vitality to the world. Discomfort with his work comes from one of two places: either a fear that he sees the real you or a denial that your uglier side exists. He paints the character you become after a week-long bender, and yet, it’s all quite flattering because he’s so damned good at making everyone look so damned bad...
…Which is ironic because the dim light in Barbara’s is quite forgiving to the average complexion. Given it’s neighborhood of creative regulars, Barbara’s has seen more stories of success, failure, inspiration, infuriation and party in its fourteen years than most bars see in their entire existences. Its stealth location adds to this air of possibilities: a sense of protection from outside forces. It’s an enclave of collaborators and independents, relentlessly pushing themselves towards the moving target that is creation and Barbara’s is their respite. It’s a place to have a decent meal and a stiff drink while adjusting one’s eyes from the tunnel vision of the studio; a place to go ask who has bolt cutters, a 12 foot ladder or a fork lift to loan; a place to drown your accomplishments and celebrate your sorrows. Yep, that’s Barbara’s and that’s why it’s the best bar in town.
This exhibition of portraits is an ode to the bartenders, cooks and managers of Barbara’s who have fed us, entertained us, celebrated with us, connected us, and watched us cry in our whiskey as we have sometimes seen them do in their own. This really is a neighborhood bar, the most democratic, clandestine neighborhood bar in the whole of Los Angeles. And it’s ours. Please join us in celebrating.
Hatheway Curatorial is a series of rotating exhibitions, developed by Teale Hatheway, taking place at Barbara’s, the restaurant/bar hidden in the heart of the Brewery Arts Complex. The Brewery is considered the world’s largest live-work arts complex with an estimated 500 resident and day-use artists representing every field of creation. Barbara’s provides a welcoming environment for artists, art lovers, musicians, writers and business people to meet, exchange ideas and cut a little loose. As a curatorial project, Barbara West at the Brewery provides a forum for resident and non-resident artists who are actively pursuing creative development. Additional information about Hatheway Curatorial can be found by visiting us on ArtSlant.com.