Alfstad& Contemporary in Sarasota, Florida, will present an exhibition of works by Heather Hutchison spanning the past decade. The exhibit, “Forever Changes,” opens February 8, 2018, and runs through March 10.
The exhibition highlights Hutchison’s trademark style, which NY Arts Magazine described as being “more akin to the simplified beauty of James Turrell than the stark face of minimalism.” The comparison is important, especially for anyone who has only experienced her art in reproductions. The flatness of photographs creates a pristine illusion in her work, which is far from accurate.
Deep, uncomplicated frames of birch plywood–with visible grain and repeating striations–mount thin sheets of Plexiglas. Sparingly masked in duck tape with surfaces coated in beeswax, the constructions are suggestive, from a distance, of seascapes reflecting on jalousie windows, common in mid-20th-century homes throughout the Deep South.
When viewers move closer to the artwork, they notice non-uniformed layering of pigments that extends past the picture plane, the flawed tear marks registered in the edges of the standard household tapes. On closer inspection still, their attention shifts again, this time to the saturation of Hutchison’s colors, now glowing, inviting them to look, not at the artwork, but through it.
Discussing her work, Heather Hutchison often refers to natural disasters as inspiration. Acknowledging the beauty, not just the storm, her work inspires a feeling of the sublime that arises from an intimate engagement with nature. This Romantic notion, as well as Hutchison’s aesthetics, relates closely to 19th-Century American artists, such as the luminist John Frederick Kensett, who shifted the visual concern of landscape paintings to an interest in quietism, depicting a poetic, tranquil experience of nature.
Born in Philomath, Oregon, Heather Hutchison currently works and resides in upstate New York. She has exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, Montclair Art Museum, the Smithsonian, the Knoxville Museum of Art, and the 44th Biennial Exhibition of American Painting at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.