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AMY HUTCHESON of weight and light and space...


MONGERSON GALLERY

875 N MICHIGAN AVENUE | SUITE 2520 | CHICAGO, ILLINOIS 60611


This catalogue is published to accompany the exhibition Amy Hutcheson: of weight and light and space… December 10, 2015 – February 29, 2016 Copyright © 2015 Mongerson Gallery Mongerson Gallery 875 N Michigan Avenue Suite 2520 Chicago, IL 60611 www.mongersongallery.com For inquiries, please contact (312) 943-2354


AMY HUTCHESON of weight and light and space...


Index 1

Introduction Tyler Mongerson

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Un-describing Phenomena Alan Pocaro

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Artist’s Statement Amy Hutcheson

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Exhibition

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Checklist


Introduction | Tyler Mongerson

I am especially pleased to introduce you to the exceptional work of

Amy Hutcheson. Through her new body of work of weight and light and space‌ her exploration of forms created through line continues. One of the pleasures of handling contemporary artists is the firsthand witness to their apparent ambivalence toward historical context. With 19th and 20th century art, historical context, subject matter and date of execution must be weighed and counter weighed in order to determine the quality and desirability of a work of art. However, in dealing with Amy Hutcheson’s work, I take delight in concentrating on the visual pleasures -- the line, and, as Amy states, the color issuing from her use of line.

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Amy Hutcheson: Un-describing Phenomena Alan Pocaro

On a non-descript New York afternoon in 1953, Robert Rauschenberg knocked

tentatively on the door of painter Willem de Kooning’s 10th street studio. De Kooning, 21 years Rauschenberg’s senior, allowed the young artist to enter and then –according to Rauschenberg’s surely embellished telling- ominously barricaded the access behind them. The purpose of Rauschenberg’s visit, to acquire a drawing of de Kooning’s in order to erase, has become the stuff of legend. Though not publicly shown until nearly 10 years after its completion, “Erased de Kooning Drawing” has become one of the lynchpins in an art historical narrative that describes the mid-century transition from the primacy of Abstract Expressionism to the neophyte Conceptual and Minimalist movements. The work is often characterized as an Oedipal act, the young artist paving the way for his ascendance by slaying the domineering influence of the father. But that’s too simple an assessment. Erasure has come to be synonymous with defacement, but as with all things, the truth is subtler. Even for de Kooning, erasure was seldom a destructive process, but rather a means of creating residues, the appearance of a history that allowed the artist to arrive at a visual statement nearer to the truth of his experience. “Woman I” of 1950 was famously painted and scrapped down possibly hundreds of times over the course of a year before it attained its final state. Even the drawing that Rauschenberg himself erased, is likely to have had been created by de Kooning with erasure as an aspect of it. 2


For Memphis artist Amy Hutcheson, erasure has always been a positive act, a method of uncovering –or as she says “un-describing” - the physical properties of perceived forms so that she might establish a more faithful, more fully transcendent order beyond the superficial appearance of things. Beginning several years ago with the chaos of a massive, room-sized still life composed of objects of personal significance, Hutcheson embarked on her precarious duet with the eraser. One step forward, one step back. A solitary charcoal mark on the pristine surface of a sheet of Stonehenge is followed by another, then another, and another. Marks expand into lines and lines enclose to form shapes and the shapes embrace and interlock. But now the dance begins in earnest, an eraser in hand and the shapes become lines once more and the lines, as if traveling back in time, are returned to their source. Only a mark remains. The process begins anew. Although deeply embedded into Hutcheson’s process, the erasure hasn’t always been –and still isn’t- total. As recently as 2014’s “World Communion of Reformed Hopeless Romantics” fragments of the known world, the handle of a coffee mug, the oblique curve of a lamp shade, the battered spokes of an ancient bicycle wheel, remain as passing glimpses of the artist’s initial inspiration. These moments come on like a revelation in a cacophony of line and color in an all-over composition. But in her latest works, the erasure feels less like an agitated verb and more firmly a self-assured noun. Gone are the anarchic spaces, the colored-in multi-faceted forms that compete for the viewer’s attention on a surface claustrophobically packed with incident. In their place are a newfound sense of structure, clarity and air. Where once Hutcheson un-described physical form, she now reveals immaterial phenomena. 3


Here we are face to face with hyper-charged ribbons of line that lash-out from tightly wound centers of force, floating within ambiguous clouds of carbon dust vivified through the erasers’ touch. To encounter a large scale drawing like Hutcheson’s “No Parachute”, with its tangled web of oscillating marks punctuated by translucent red and blue curves, is to behold a genuine presence. By working through the alembic of memory, Hutcheson has produced a striking body of work that is indifferent to the incessant narratives of painting’s death and resurrection that so consume the chattering classes. This work simply is. We erase histories too. It’s probably hard to believe given the kaleidoscopic proliferation of art fairs, obscene record-breaking auction prices, and the excessive commercial infrastructure that has grown-up around the sale of art works over the past 100 years, but the roots of non-objective abstraction in the west are deeply spiritual. From Wassily Kandinsky’s “Concerning the Spiritual in Art” to Piet Mondrian’s interest in the cosmic order behind appearances, art as an antidote –even antithetical- to reductive materialism seldom comes up in our pluralistic 21st century discourse. Be that as it may, there’s a spiritual dimension to Amy Hutcheson’s art that we ignore at our own peril. It may not explicitly (or lazily) evoke the iconography of the Christian church or the symbolism of esoteric Buddhism, but embodied within the rapid twists and turns of “The Great Escape” is an affirmation of humanity’s 4


innate desire to transcend the limitations of our reality and gaze fearlessly into the abyss. By using the mundane materials of this mundane world, Hutcheson’s work reveals what Shakespeare’s Theseus called “the forms of things unknown” -a window onto an alternative universe. This art is no mirror. Yet we’ve become so accustomed to the 20th century dogma that art is a mere sociological reflection of the culture that produced it, that to fully comprehend it as creation -as revealing the complete otherness of art to life- is no easy task. Like abruptly awakening after years spent comatose, we must reacquaint ourselves with even the most familiar of images. To see Hutcheson’s boldly executed gestures and erased surfaces not as semiotic artifacts returning us to the materialism of “the forever now”, but as aspects of an inaccessible world as real as our own requires fresh eyes and a more generous understanding of art’s hidden histories. “I don’t want my work to just sit pretty on the wall.” Hutcheson tells me on a non-descript Chicago afternoon. “I want the viewer to have an experience, love it or hate it. But if you walked by and just ignored it….that would suck.” It would be hard to “just ignore” the works in this show. Physically demanding, they require you to move your body, to get up close and then back away, to mimic the moves of the artist. While they may be indifferent to you, you cannot be indifferent to them and to the worlds they show us. They’re too bossy for that. They embody a litany of energetic forms and phenomena that cannot simply be seen, but must also be felt. Added to and then erased away. Described and un-described. 5


Alan Pocaro is an artist and writer based in Illinois. Associated with the New Aesthetics movement -an informal group of individuals who emphasize the physical and material nature of art- Pocaro regularly contributes art-criticism to Chicago’s New City magazine and his writing has appeared in Art Critical, Abstract Critical, City Beat and ART PAPERS. Pocaro is currently appointed Assistant Professor of Art at Eastern Illinois University.

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Artist’s Statement Amy Hutcheson

One of the things that drives me to create this work is my love of drawing. Drawing anything. Making marks. Just moving the pencil across the paper that’s the start of it all. Even just the sound that it makes as the pencil moves across the paper is enticing to me. Then once that process starts I begin searching for creating balance or finding something new within the work to identify. Or as I erase away and remove areas different lines come to the surface and the color becomes a response to the lines and structures. Before starting a work, I look at my environment. I may see a line or shape that I’m attracted to or bothered by and then I go to my studio and replicate not the actual object but the impression and memory I have of it. It’s about creating a new reality based on moving and manipulating different parts of the drawing. That’s really our job I think....as artists we create an alternate reality within the work. I want my work to take up space and not just the physical space of the paper and the tools I use on it but I want it to have a presence when it’s on the wall like a person would take up space in the room the energy that they give off. And as the lines begin to intersect – as some are pushed back from the surface and others pulled to the forefront – the energy shifts and changes until everything works together to create a sense of weight and lightness and death and energy and strength and vulnerability. Much like a human being. Varying moments of moods and feelings.

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Transverse Mixed media on paper 50 x 38 inches

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Flutter Mixed media on paper 38 x 50 inches

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Idyllic Suburban Day Dreaming Mixed media on paper 38 x 50 inches

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Unmarked Helicopters Mixed media on paper 38 x 50 inches

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A Case For Evolution Mixed media on paper 38 x 50 inches

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An Instance of Oscillating Equilibrium Mixed media on paper 50 x 38 inches

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The Great Escape Mixed media on paper 38 x 50 inches

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Mosquitos Indulging in Games of Vertigo Mixed media on paper 50 x 38 inches


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Edge of Evolution Mixed media on paper 38 x 50 inches

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No Parachute Mixed media on paper 38 x 50 inches

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Amy Hutcheson: of weight and light and space‌ Checklist Transverse Mixed media on paper 50 x 38 inches

The Great Escape Mixed media on paper 38 x 50 inches

Flutter Mixed media on paper 38 x 50 inches

Mosquitos Indulging in Games of Vertigo Mixed media on paper 50 x 38 inches

Idyllic Suburban Day Dreaming Mixed media on paper 38 x 50 inches

Edge of Evolution Mixed media on paper 38 x 50 inches

Unmarked Helicopters Mixed media on paper 38 x 50 inches

No Parachute Mixed media on paper 38 x 50 inches

A Case For Evolution Mixed media on paper 38 x 50 inches An Instance of Oscillating Equilibrium Mixed media on paper 50 x 38 inches 29


This catalogue is published to accompany the exhibition Amy Hutcheson: of weight and light and space… December 10, 2015 – February 29, 2016 Copyright © 2015 Mongerson Gallery Mongerson Gallery 875 N Michigan Avenue Suite 2520 Chicago, IL 60611 www.mongersongallery.com For inquiries, please contact (312) 943-2354


MONGERSON GALLERY

875 N MICHIGAN AVENUE | SUITE 2520 | CHICAGO, ILLINOIS 60611

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Amy Hutcheson: of weight and light and space  

Amy Hutcheson: of weight and light and space  

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