Metallic Beauty: Richard Hunt At The Chicago Cultural Center
By Carrie McGath in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 24, 2015 7:00PM
'Gathering scrap in a junk yard at Clybourn and Sheffield Avenues, Chicago, 1962,' photo courtesy of Richard Hunt
Walking through Exhibition Hall in the Chicago Cultural Center to see the Sixty Years of Sculpture: Richard Hunt show, visitors bear witness to the prolific breadth and staggering growth of this continually important artist. This is a deftly curated show, spotlighting Hunt's artistic evolution through his use of materials, his views on form and those forms’ expanse or their fragile smallness.
Linear Spatial Theme No. 2, 1962 by Richard Hunt, Welded tubular chromed steel, 38 x 64 x 46 inches, photo courtesy of The Chicago Cultural Center
The introversion in his early work comes through with a focus on smallness, thin pipes creating abstract creatures that quietly reach upward and outward. They are gentle and quiet pieces, many softened with the inclusion of cottonwood along with the metallic scraps Hunt found in pockets and junkyards throughout the city.
1957's Vector is a cottonwood and steel sculpture that is pulling itself in multiple directions, resembling the head of an animal or the seat of a bicycle. It looks to be dancing and growing, only to dissipate into the space above and around it while the base keeps it grounded, rendering it unable to fully free itself. This small piece illustrates the stark juxtaposition to his newer works that elicit strength, a hysterical kinesis and, simply, sheer mass.
Richard Hunt in his studio, photo by Thomas McCormick.
On view through March 29, this is an absolute must-see exhibition showing so much sentient work from an artist so very entrenched (and rightly so) in Chicago's art scene and the overall canon of contemporary sculpture.