Beyond Borders: Bill Hutson & Friends

Mechanical Hall Gallery
August 31-December 9, 2016

Bill Hutson, Ten Series #8, 1991. Acrylic on Arches paper, 60 x 40 in. © Bill Hutson From the Bill Hutson Collection, The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College. Courtesy of The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College

Coinciding with the eightieth birthday of American artist Bill Hutson, Beyond Borders highlights the visual legacy of Hutson’s transatlantic friendships. Best known for his abstract paintings, Hutson is an active artist, educator and curator. Prior to settling in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Hutson forged lasting relationships with artists in the communities where he was based. These include England, France, The Netherlands, Italy, Nigeria, Senegal, India and the USA.

Bill Hutson, Surface with Objects #1, 1960-61. Oil on Masonite, 27 x 13 in. From the Bill Hutson Collection, The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College, © Bill Hutson. Courtesy of The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College
Bill Hutson, Surface with Objects #1, 1960-61. Oil on Masonite, 27 x 13 in. © Bill Hutson. From the Bill Hutson Collection, The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College. Courtesy of The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College

The global network of artist friends that developed through Hutson’s peripatetic creative life is prime material for geospatial and social network analysis. Many black American artists have found greater freedom to create outside the USA.  Hutson and many others have dynamic inter- and intracontinental careers. There is a correlation between this liminal existence and the formal properties of his work. An attentiveness to tactile (local) and planar (spatial) impulses, evident in Surface with Objects # 1, 1960-61 and Ten Series #8 from 1991, flows throughout his oeuvre. The former was created just before his first sojourn abroad and the latter after settling in Pennsylvania. Impressions of place—the artist’s environs—surface directly in Hutson’s compositions. Sometimes the trace is abstracted, as in the geometry of roof lines, while at other times it is tangible. The Kerala Series and Defence Colony Series are comprised of fabrics dyed and assembled during Hutson’s travels between India and the USA.

Bill Hutson, Kerala Series #9, 2003. Mixed media, 17 x 28 in. From the Bill Hutson Collection, The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College, © Bill Hutson. Courtesy of The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College
Bill Hutson, Kerala Series #9, 2003. Mixed media, 17 x 28 in. © Bill Hutson.
From the Bill Hutson Collection, The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College. Courtesy of The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College

Through selected works by Bill Hutson and his contemporaries, Beyond Borders navigates the transnational nature and scope of his creative life. Drawn from the Hutson Collection at the Phillips Museum of Art, the exhibition maps personal relationships across divergent historical narratives. Surprises include visual art by renowned literary figures—William Melvin Kelley, Ntozake Shange and Lindsay Barrett—and personal paintbrushes decorated by Mr. Imagination.

Lindsay Barrett, Spirit Night, ca. 1970-71. Paint, conté, mixed media on paper, 15 x 21.5 in. From the Bill Hutson Collection, The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College, © Lindsay Barrett. Courtesy of The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College
Lindsay Barrett, Spirit Night, ca. 1970-71. Paint, conté, mixed media on paper, 15 x 21.5 in. © Lindsay Barrett. From the Bill Hutson Collection, The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College. Courtesy of The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College

Moving between international metropoles of London, Paris and Amsterdam with side trips to New York City, Hutson befriended artists working with the creative language of abstraction, such as Ed Clark, Larry Potter, Herb Gentry, Sam Middleton, James Little, Nanette Carter, and Melvin Edwards. His accumulating habits, archival and personal, reflect the passions of a self-taught scholar and, even more poignantly, the consistency of his open advocacy for artistic freedom. Treasuring the hand-made and the self-made, Hutson supported artists working inside and outside of the academy. While teaching at Ohio State University in the 1980s, Hutson acquired work of regional artists such as Roman Johnson, Mary Frances Merrill, and Russell “Smoky” Brown. Assembled over the course of Hutson’s career, the objects diarize and historicize the artist and his milieu.

Sam Middleton, Jazz Voor Ogen, 1993. Mixed media, 7 x 9.5 in. From the Bill Hutson Collection, The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College, © Estate of Sam Middleton. Courtesy of The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College
Sam Middleton, Jazz Voor Ogen, 1993. Mixed media, 7 x 9.5 in. © Estate of Sam Middleton. From the Bill Hutson Collection, The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College. Courtesy of The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College

Born in San Marcos, Texas on September 6, 1936, William R. Hutson serves as the Jennie Brown Cook and Betsy Hess Cook Distinguished Artist-in-Residence at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. An artist-archivist, Hutson gifted his collection, inclusive of personal papers, exhibition catalogues and texts documenting African American art to Franklin & Marshall College in 2010. The Phillips Museum of Art houses the extensive art and poster collection donated by Hutson.

Bill Hutson, Defence Colony Series # 10, 2002. Mixed media, 34.5. x 34 in. From the Bill Hutson Collection, The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College, © Bill Hutson. Courtesy of The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College
Bill Hutson, Defence Colony Series # 10, 2002. Mixed media, 34.5. x 34 in. © Bill Hutson
From the Bill Hutson Collection, The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College. Courtesy of The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College

Banner Image: Bill Hutson, Defence Colony Series # 10 (detail), 2002. Mixed media, 34.5. x 34 in. From the Bill Hutson Collection, The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College. Courtesy of The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College © Bill Hutson

PROGRAMMING

Opening Reception and Program
In Conversation: Bill Hutson, Jennie Brown Cook and Betsy Hess Cook Distinguished Artist-in-Residence, Franklin & Marshall College with Julie L. McGee, Curator of African American Art, and Ivan Henderson, Curator of Education
RSVP: universitymuseums@udel.edu and (302) 831-8037
Thursday, September 29, 5-7 p.m.
Mechanical Hall Gallery

Perspectives is a series of informal afternoon discussions led by curators and invited faculty about the objects, exhibitions, and ideas on display in University Museums galleries. Scheduled for your lunch break, these varied, short and informal noontime talks offer an introduction to each exhibition as well as time for discussion.

Journey and Journal
Julie L. McGee, Curator African American Art and Associate Professor, Departments of Black American Studies and Art History
Wednesday, October 5, 12-12:45 p.m.
Mechanical Hall Gallery

Thoughts on Art Outside the Academy
Anne Bowler, Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice
Wednesday, November 2, 12-12:45 p.m.
Mechanical Hall Gallery

A. Timothy Spaulding, Associate Professor, Departments of English and Black American Studies
Wednesday, November 16, 12-12:45 p.m.
Mechanical Hall Gallery

For more on Bill Hutson’s Gift to Franklin & Marshall College: http://www.fandm.edu/magazine/archive/features/2010/08/20/the-art-of-giving

Exhibtion poster for Collages Tableaux at the American Center for Students & Artists (Centre International De Paris) in France. Featuring the artists Bill Hutson, Sam Middleton, and Edward Clark. March 5 1969 - March 25, 1969
Exhibtion poster for Collages Tableaux at the American Center for Students & Artists (Centre International De Paris) in France. Featuring the artists Bill Hutson, Sam Middleton, and Edward Clark. March 5 1969 – March 25, 1969

 

 

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