Magazine article Sculpture

CHICAGO: Richard Hunt

Magazine article Sculpture

CHICAGO: Richard Hunt

Article excerpt

McCormick Gallery

Richard Hunt's recent exhibition of rarely seen early sculptures and works on paper was a remarkable mini-retrospective of pieces never exhibited outside his studio in Benton Harbor (Michigan) since they were created in the mid-1950s. They demonstrate how Hunt was able to forge a personal sculptural identity at a time when the subjective and expressive content of the Modernist imagination was still thriving, driven by Surrealist automatism and subconscious expression. Abstract Expressionism, with its themes of mythopoetic tragedy and existential anxiety, as well as the work of Spanish sculptor Julio González, were among Hunt's early influences.

The earliest pieces, from 1955, depict skeletal humanoids that owe a debt to Giacometti's post-apocalyptic figures. Hunt followed these with a remarkable series of welded amalgamations that included scrap yard cast-offs such as chair legs, tubes, bicycle parts, a wheel, a doorknob, and segments of tire rims. Poetically re-humanized by their rusty surfaces, these works surprise with their inventive and animated suspension in space. Construction O, D, and N (all 1956) and Vector (1957), some of the most inventive pieces, transform curvaceous wooden forms resembling abstract torsos through the addition of spindly metal legs and iron wire filaments that rise upward like plant tendrils or insect antennae. These works already bear Hunt's unique sensibility, with graceful metal lines interweaving through the forms and lending a sense of sophisticated spontaneity. …

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