Log In

Reset Password

Hutchings expresses joy through colour

First Prev 1 2 Next Last
Joyous show: Masterworks is hosting Christina Hutchings’ first solo exhibition since 2011 (Photograph by Blair Raughley Masters)
Inspiring exhibition: artist Christina Hutchings, centre, is flanked by Jasmine Lee, left, curator of the exhibition, and Kimberley Fisher, right, Masterworks’ education officer (Photograph by Blair Raughley Masters)

Artist Christina Hutchings had her last solo art exhibition more than a decade ago in 2011 at the Windjammer 2 Gallery. Her current exhibition is being hosted by the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art and runs through May 7. What a joyous show it is and most certainly worth every effort you might have to expend to see it.

Hutchings’ work is largely abstract, however it frequently makes allusions to ordinary reality, including aspects of Bermuda culture, kite flying, local flowers or birds. There is also the large nautical Map Series V & VI to consider. With the latter, there is a contrast between its vigorous brushwork suggesting sea and sky and its linear overlay implying nautical charts.

This combination of painterliness, along with its overlying linear aspect, I see as a joining of the artist’s training as a fine artist and then as an architect.

The series, Italian Landscapes I – VI of 1987, depicts a road which converges on a distant building. This is the subject in all six paintings. Number 1 in the series is the most realistic, but each oil thereafter gets progressively more abstract until number VI is mostly abstract.

This Italian landscape series is notable in that the artist sought to emulate the actual colour of the land, by painting the area surrounding the central landscape the colour of stones she found along the actual road. This series was painted en plein air.

Although the colour palette of the Italian landscape series are geared to the earth colours of Umbrian stones, I was actually reminded of the late paintings and palette of Georges Braque, the French pioneer cubist who was noted for his use of muted colour.

For some, abstraction is tantamount to meaningless, but perhaps it will help, if we recognise the fact that in art we can never depict the real in totality. Even the most realistic picture is to some degree a simplification of the real. The verb to abstract implies therefore some degree of simplification.

At the other end of the abstract spectrum, that which may appear totally non-objective, is never beyond what we are able to perceive. We are limited in our perceptions and dependent on what we can discern through our five senses.

With this point in mind, it is possible to see Hutchings’ abstracts from our own point of view without knowing the artists original intentions.

One of Hutching’s strong points, is her sensitive use of colour. Indeed, her use of colour is often foundational. Of course there are other components to consider, but without colour, her composition would often fall apart, it is that essential. It is joy expressed through colour.

I am thinking of a painting called Barragan’s Wall. For those not in the know, Barragan was the foremost Mexican modernist architect. He was famous for his use of vibrant pink in architecture. Note the artist in this painting emulates his use of pink and red.

Hutchings’ use of colour is wide ranging, from muted to vibrant. Sometimes with strong contrasts, as with Kiskadee and Hibiscus. In this case, vibrant yellow and bright red, plus the white of the paper and charcoal lines.

One of my personal favourites is YOU ARE HERE. This composition is noted for the use of diagonals, strong contrasts of colour, vigorous brushwork along with paint, collage, assemblage and even a sense of translucency. Hutchings has packed a lot into a small composition, but with a degree of restraint and balance. Its an incredible tour de force.

The exhibition was selected and arranged by Jasmine Lee, Masterworks Museum and Gallery exhibitions officer. The show is up and open until May 7, which means only a couple weeks for you to see it. Plan now to see it.

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published April 27, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated April 26, 2024 at 5:46 pm)

Hutchings expresses joy through colour

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon