The Celestial Spheres

On March 1st New York based artist Timothy Hutchings will debut new video works and sculpture in an exhibit entitled The Celestial Spheres.  The artist works toward an ecology of meaning as the pieces reinforce each other’s subtler aspects.  Perspective and visual gestalt are important here, as are questions about flat images implying space through movement.

In the title video Celestial Spheres, scored by David T. Little, rectangles and circles bob gently off one another with suggestive organic movements. While it appears to be a flat plane, the work looks almost three-dimensional as the objects alternately come forward and recede into space in a visually challenging way.  Teased by the series of erratically moving shapes reminiscent of 1960s experimental animation, the watchful viewer soon uncovers the secret embodied in the movements.

Standing in the main gallery is a large sculpture, Formal Issue #32 (cardboard, paint, glue, tape). This is part of a body of work that the artist has been developing for two years in an investigation of the issues of 1970s Minimalism through the use of a visceral and immediate studio practice. Composed entirely of right angles, the cardboard sculpture combines a High Minimalist vocabulary with the lowest of disposable materials.

This boxy minimalist style reappears in Hutchings’ second video, The Battle of the Mass, the title of which is borrowed from a Charlie McAlister album named after a fictitious Civil War battle in Massachusetts. Here the sculpture accumulates coat after coat of paint and all set to a jaunty, parade-style tune by McAlister.  The battle mentioned stems from the uncomfortable tension that the artist manages to create when the paint is flatly washed across a three-dimensional surface. Perspective can be deceiving here – and three-dimensionality is in the eye of the beholder.  Especially with the musical score, this begins to feel like a game about perspective for the viewer. Painter, ladders, drips: in fact, it’s all digital animation.

Hutchings wraps up these themes by creating some engravings of “impossible objects.” These so-called Difficult Object Schematics break the rules and trick the viewer once more: what one sees is an aluminum panel, but the blueprint drawn upon it could never be.

Hutchings will have a solo exhibition at the Vienna Kunsthalle in 2008.  Group shows include Greater New York, Some Young New Yorkers, and B-Hotel at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center; 25 Years Later, Art In General; Videodrome II, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Metropolis Now, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid; The Big Nothing – Basekamp, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; SUBMERGE, Kunstebunker Forum für  Zeitgenössische Kunst, Nürnberg, Germany.  In 2007, he had a solo exhibition at the Soap Factory in Minneapolis.

Timothy Hutchings was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1974.  He was educated at the Kansas City Art Institute, and received his MFA from the Yale University School of the Arts.  He lives and works in New York.