Drawings of racehorse names such as Candy Ride and Hunger are meticulously rendered in graphite on large expanses of white. Isolating these names-at times fanciful and flirtatious and at other times moody, lush and commanding-from their context calls attention to the poetics at play.

Fresh off her year as artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, Oakland California artist Sadie Barnette, now based in LA and New York City, presents Superfecta, a solo show at Charlie James Gallery opening January 9th, 2016 (Artist’s reception from 6-9pm) through February 20, 2016

In Superfecta, Sadie Barnette investigates the racetrack as a place where rules, codes, and highly specific vernacular mingle with fantasy, escapism, and chance-underpinned by childhood memories of tagging along on payday to Hollywood Park.

Sadie Barnett art

Another series of drawings, done on newsprint pages from the daily racing forms and other ephemera sold at racetracks, tackle the numbers game of the track. These multiple sets of drawings of digits 1-9 point to the number assigned to each horse, as well as the dizzying amount of statistics used in betting and “handicapping” to calculate advantage. The metallic-looking surface of the graphite covers almost entire pages, revealing in the negative space elements of the racing form-tiny american flags, stacks of dollars, coins, and little horses jumping off the page.

A constellation of works on paper introduces small pops of neon color, a slight buzz of glitter, and-in contrast to Barnette’s controlled application of graphite-wild, yet elegant, spray paint gestures. Barnette’s photographic pieces activate the narrative behind the numbers. There are stories behind every dollar won or lost at the track.

The artist’s memories of being Dad’s good luck charm at the races, always picking the horses with the prettiest names, serve as subtext to the collages and photographs. A light-boxed photograph shows a surreal image of a horse and rider in the middle of a Southern California residential street. Taken outside of the artist’s house during a family party, the photograph is evidence of the little known equestrian culture of Compton and its urban cowboys.

Image (above): Sadie Barnette, Untitled Pony ride, Compton, CA, 2015. Archival pigment print in lightbox. 24 x 32 inches.
Images provided by the Charlie James Gallery.