8 to June 13, 2015
crayon on paper
24 x 18 inches
more work here
Western Exhibitions is thrilled to present our third solo show
with RICHARD HULL. The Chicago-based artist will
exhibit a series of crayon-on-paper abstract portraits in Gallery
1 and in Gallery 2, a new oil-on-wax-on-canvas painting, two never-seen-before
paintings started over ten years ago, and a huge unframed drawing.
The show opens with a free public reception on Friday, May
8 from 5 to 8pm and will run through June 13. Gallery hours
are Tuesday-Saturday, 11am to 6pm.
Richard Hull joined the Phyllis Kind Gallery before his graduation
from the School of the Art Institute Chicago, where many of Chicago’s
legendary Imagist painters showed in the late-1970’s, including
Roger Brown, Jim Nutt, Ed Paschke, Christina Ramberg and Karl
Wirsum. He was known then for painting “abstracted architectural
interiors where towers, gabled roofs, and arched doorways combine
with geometric solids and intersecting planes to form a framework
in which various figurative elements are situated.” (1).
Hull calls his recent paintings and drawings (2011-2015) “stolen
portraits.” His crayon drawings, in particular, are portraits
in the form of hairdos, each one expressing a distinct visual
personality rather than a representation of a particular individual.
This quasi-figurative direction started with, of all things, drawing
a horse’s tail for an exquisite corpse in a performative
collaboration with MacArthur award-winning saxophonist and composer
Ken Vandermark and the illustrator and printmaker Dan Grzeca.
Hull has also been influenced by the concept of a Klein bottle,
a non-orientable surface with no identifiable "inner"
and "outer" side. In subsequent works, he has doubled
and mirrored the tail/kidney shape, while exploring spatial relationships,
both metaphorically and formally, between the geometric dualities
of full and empty spaces. In Hull’s stolen portraits, horse
tails now resemble looping flower petal forms - building blocks
for portrait-like structures. The bulbous loops are accentuated
by minute, repetitive, often concentric actions within the large
The common crayons Hull uses for this body of work give each drawing
a visceral, physical presence that is also transparent and ephemeral,
and the heavy build up of wax allows for sgraffito, a scratch-like
mark-making technique, to be applied to the various layers of
color. Given that he thinks of the drawings as hairdos, it is
not surprising to learn that he sometimes uses a comb to make
the marks. The crayon drawings have been the primary focus of
his studio work the past two years but they are not studies for
paintings; Hull stated in a recent interview on Inside/Within:
“I did the paintings before I did the drawings. The paintings
lead me to the drawings.” The rigorous crayon drawings are
distillations of the ideas achieved through Hull's investigation
of the more fluid, sensual materials associated with oil painting.
A new massive “stolen portrait” painting hanging in
Gallery 2 shares space with two paintings that were each started
around 10 years ago and have recently been reworked. These earthy
works revisit and readdress the issue of landscape and the figure
in it. They differ from his recent portrait paintings in that
the delineation between the figure and ground becomes blurred;
the image is overtaken by the paint. Joining these paintings is
a large pencil drawing “Passage” that Hull started
with the idea of making a million discreet marks, vaguely thinking
of a body of water or an undulating terrain, while really describing
nothing except perhaps the passage of time.
Richard Hull (b. 1955 Oklahoma City, OK, lives
and works in Chicago, IL)
Paintings, drawings and prints are in the collections of several
museums including the Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary
Art, Chicago; the Smithsonian Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Nerman
Museum of Contemporary, Kansas; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and
the Smart Museum, Chicago. He has exhibited his work at the Art
Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Nelson-Atkins
Museum, Kansas City; the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield,
CT; Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH; Portland Art Museum,
OR; the Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, OH; Herron Gallery
of Art, Indianapolis, IN; Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield
Hills, MI; Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Evanston IL; and
the Painting Center, New York, NY.
(1) Courtenay E. Smith, from "Art in Chicago 1945 - 1995"
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago