Page 1

WORDS ARE ELVES DAVID HUTCHINSON


WORDS ARE ELVES DAVID HUTCHINSON


The exhibition at the Lionheart Gallery is entitled, ‘Words are Elves’. Because my interests focus on the nature of conceptualizing images and the aesthetic experience, it seemed appropriate for me to turn my attention to a highly-regarded critique of Genet’s aesthetics. In his novel, Saint Genet, Actor and Martyr, the French philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre, offers an existential analysis of Genet’s psychology and morality. Sartre’s chapter on Genet’s aesthetics, ‘A Strange Hell of Beauty’, is the material from which this exhibition is based. In a seemingly unremarkable passage in this chapter, Sartre makes a passing statement: ‘words are elves’. It is an alarming observation that is not really lingered on; but in a follow-up statement Sartre compares a stylis to a wand - both having a magical ability to influence and transform imagery. Upon reading this short, throw-away passage, I immediately felt a strong parallel between the intent of the phrase, ‘words are elves’, and the emphasis of my own work. – David Hutchinson


3

David Hutchinson Words Are Elves Featured at the Lionheart Gallery New Exhibition opens on September 9, 2016 through November 1, 2016 Pound Ridge, New York: The Lionheart Gallery is pleased to announce a new multi-media art exhibition opening in September. Words are Elves by David Hutchinson features paintings, drawings, and wall sculptures that explore literary themes through use of severe line and vivacious color. Visitors are invited to see this innovative show at the Lionheart Gallery at 27 Westchester Avenue in Pound Ridge, New York, from September 9–November 1, 2016. The exhibition’s opening reception will be on September 24 from 5-8 PM, which will include an artists talk. David Hutchinson has studied architecture in Scotland and Louisiana and philosophy in New York City. Now based in Pound Ridge, this conceptual artist centers his practice on the natures of communication and image codifications, finding inspiration in literature. In short, he translates writing into painting. His minimalist creations—based on works by French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre that analyze the writings of Jean Genet—employ a code that connects letters to paint colors. Some might say that Hutchinson systemically imagines the hues of our conversation. The name of Hutchinson’s exhibition, Words are Elves, is based on a comment by Sartre. “It is an alarming observation that is not really lingered on, but in a follow-up statement Sartre compares a stylis to a wand—both having a magical ability to influence and transform imagery,” the artist says. Upon first reading this passage, he immediately felt a connection that could be expressed visually. “Because my interests focus on the nature of conceptualizing images and the aesthetic experience, it seemed appropriate for me to turn my attention to a highly-regarded critique of Genet’s aesthetics,” Hutchinson continues. In his novel, Saint Genet, Actor and Martyr, Sartre offers an existential analysis of Genet’s psychology and morality. Sartre’s chapter on Genet’s aesthetics, ‘A Strange Hell of Beauty,’ is the material on which this exhibition is based. In Hutchinson’s chromatic works, each block of color is a visual stand-in for a letter of the English alphabet: a = aquamarine, b = blue, c = crimson, d = dove gray, e = emerald, and so on, forming a rainbow-hued code based on color names. Other works are black and white layers of overwriting, using the original texts scribed on top of one another, over and over again, to create unreadable fields and patterns of formal scribbles. “In previous works I have tended to keep these two practices of ‘translation’ and ‘transcription’ separate,” Hutchinson notes. “In this exhibition I combine these two aesthetic approaches for the first time.”


4

“I find Hutchinson’s art fascinating to explore,” says Gallery Director Susan Grissom. “His unique style incorporates philosophical writings, a strong color palette, and a code to analyze that make you take more than a glance at this work. They are such inventive narrative paintings.” View Words are Elves by David Hutchinson at the Lionheart Gallery’s Exhibition, opening September 9, 2016 and running through November 1, 2016, Wednesday through Saturday, from 11 AM to 5 PM, and Sunday from 12 noon to 4 PM. For more information and directions to the gallery at 27 Westchester Avenue in Pound Ridge, New York, visit www.thelionheartgallery.com or call 914 764 8689.


WORDS ARE ELVES


6

Words Are Elves, 2016 Acrylic and Enamel on Paper 64.5” x 46.25”


7

Oblate, 2016 Acrylic and Enamel on Paper 63.5” x 43.75”


8

Not an Idealization, 2016 Acrylic and Enamel on Paper 64.5” x 46.25”


9

Beauty, 2016 Acrylic and Enamel on Paper 64.5” x 46.25”


10

The Floral Substance, 2016 Acrylic and Enamel on Paper 64.5” x 46.25”


11

Jean Paul Sartre, 2016 Acrylic and Enamel on Paper 64.5” x 46.25”


12

Elf Painting A, 2016 Acrylic and Enamel on Panel 12” x 9”


13

Elf Painting B, 2016 Acrylic and Enamel on Panel 12” x 9”


14

Elf Painting C, 2016 Acrylic and Enamel on Panel 12” x 9”


15

Elf Painting D, 2016 Acrylic and Enamel on Panel 12” x 9”


16

Strange Hell of Beauty A, 2016 Ink on Clayboard Panel 12” x 9”


17

Strange Hell of Beauty B, 2016 Ink on Clayboard Panel 12” x 9”


18

Strange Hell of Beauty C, 2016 Ink on Clayboard Panel 12” x 9”


19

Strange Hell of Beauty D, 2016 Ink on Clayboard Panel 12” x 9”


20

Strange Hell of Beauty E, 2016 Ink on Clayboard Panel 12” x 9”


21

Strange Hell of Beauty F, 2016 Ink on Clayboard Panel 12” x 9”


22

The Aesthete is an Oblate, 2016 Binder Board, Cloth, Acrylic and Wood 6’ x 8’4”


23

Words Are Elves, 2016 Binder Board, Cloth, Acrylic and Wood 4’11.025” x 5’6.025”


EXHIBITION PHOTOS


25

David Hutchinson WORDS ARE ELVES, 2016


26

David Hutchinson WORDS ARE ELVES, 2016


27

David Hutchinson WORDS ARE ELVES, 2016


28

David Hutchinson WORDS ARE ELVES, 2016


29

David Hutchinson WORDS ARE ELVES, 2016


30

David Hutchinson WORDS ARE ELVES, 2016


31

David Hutchinson WORDS ARE ELVES, 2016


32

David Hutchinson WORDS ARE ELVES, 2016


33

David Hutchinson WORDS ARE ELVES, 2016


34

David Hutchinson WORDS ARE ELVES, 2016


35

David Hutchinson WORDS ARE ELVES, 2016


36

David Hutchinson WORDS ARE ELVES, 2016


37

David Hutchinson WORDS ARE ELVES, 2016


38

David Hutchinson WORDS ARE ELVES, 2016


ARTSY.NET EDITORIAL BY DOUGLAS C. CLEMENT


Words are Elves: The Genius of Jean Genet’s Words Transformed Into Powerful Coded Visual Language by Douglas C. Clement In his debut novel, “Our Lady of the Flowers,” the French writer Jean Genet employs formal, elegant language to draw readers into the world of a drag queen, Divine, her pimp and other rough characters who navigate a demimonde in which eroticism and sexuality are exalted in the way the virtuous value chastity and piety. Genet’s transvaluation extends even to betrayal and murder. Jean-Paul Sartre assessed the genius of Genet in his book, “Saint Genet, Actor and Martyr,” inspired largely by the “cold fire” of “Our Lady,” accomplished writing harnessed for a tale celebrating ecstasy and death. Genet’s writing and Sartre’s interpretation of it are principal inspirations for philosophy-student-turned-artist David Hutchinson in his exhibit running through Nov. 1 at The Lionheart Gallery in Pound Ridge, N.Y., entitled Words Are Elves. Let’s leave the title aside for a moment to focus on what the artist does and why the result packs the power of an unforgettable literary work—as if it were abstracted into pure essence.


Citing the centuries-long tradition of Christian painters using coded visual language to present in transformative fashion often horrific stories, Hutchinson explains, “A large part of the body of my work has been working with the texts and life of Jean Genet to examine how the nature of formalism can absorb and subsume questionable morality by willfully re-presenting the material in a different artistic vocabulary.”

Christian art used signifiers that were understood in historical context, if not now, and Genet used mastery of language and narrative to ennoble—or at least raise doubts about the depravity of—criminal and amoral behavior. Movies, to cite a simplistic contemporary example, summon cinematic tools of distortion to leave us feeling sympathetic to characters we would loathe if encountered in real life. David Hutchinson’s transmutation of his subject matter—in this case words by and about Genet—registers at the highest level of the art of warping content with presentation. His unusual alchemy channels the brilliance of Genet in both its attempt to grasp at what lies behind the curtain of uncertainty (oppressively present via sex and death) and its ability to construct, upon a foundation of formalism, work that is at once abstract and narrative, obsessive and simplistic, sophisticated and trafficking in corruption (in this case the maker’s ability to use a form of communication to emphasize the untrustworthy elasticity of communication).


In one vein of work in Words are Elves, Hutchinson transcribes original texts in layers and layers of overwriting, emphasizing a fidelity to form, arrangement and technique over content. Genet’s obituary in The New York Times, for example, appears as a series of six intersecting constellation-like blossoms; “Our Lady of the Flowers”? In larger images that form the main body of work in the exhibit, the artist transforms written language into coded visual language through the use of color “translations.” Each block of color is a visual signifier for a letter: a = aquamarine, b = blue, c = crimson, d = dove gray, e = emerald, and so forth. Color blocks in these larger works connote phrases from Sartre’s “Saint Genet,” such as “The Sun Begets a Shadow,” while the backgrounds are transcriptions of Sartre’s chapter in “Saint Genet” about the writer’s aesthetics, entitled “A Strange Hell of Beauty.” “In previous works I have tended to keep these two practices of ‘translation’ and ‘transcription’ separate,” Hutchinson notes in the gallery’s press release. “In this exhibition I combine these two aesthetic approaches for the first time.” The result is inscrutable, mesmerizing, and finally, like Genet’s writing, a moveable feast of aesthetic wonderment. Now for the title, Words Are Elves. In “A Strange Hell of Beauty,” Sartre uses the phrase “words are elves.” In full the sentence says, “Words are elves; since childhood Genet has been in the habit of metamorphosing himself with a sharp stroke of their black wands.”


In this strong, revelatory exhibit at The Lionheart Gallery, David Hutchinson brilliantly metamorphoses literary texts into artwork that’s nothing short of magical. The exhibit at the gallery at 27 Westchester Avenue in Pound Ridge, N.Y., remains on view through November 1, 2016. Call The Lionheart Gallery at 914.764.8689 and see the website at http://www.thelionheartgallery.com for hours, directions and more information.


This catalogue was published to accompany the Words Are Elves Fall Exhibition at The Lionheart Gallery. David Hutchinson Words Are Elves, September 2016 All images copyright of the artist. Images of the works are reproduced courtesy of the artist and The Lionheart Gallery. Curated by Susan Grissom Designed by Chelsea Walsh Essay by Tori Rysz Review by Douglas C. Clement All rights reserved. No part of this book may be produced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior permission in writing of the copyright holder and The Lionheart Gallery. 914 764 8689 www.thelionheartgallery.com 27 Westchester Avenue, Pound Ridge, NY 10576

Words Are Elves Catalog  

Features works from David Hutchinson's current exhibit at The Lionheart Gallery, WORDS ARE ELVES. Also includes exhibition photos and an edi...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you