Thomas Huber's exhibition of collages and paintings and what you and I must surely call drawings is a study in messing about with white and color. Up and around through only this weekend at Theo Ganz Studio in Beacon, the work is interestingly playful and intentionally misleading. And like any good dalliance it takes in and brings home associations that touch on the history of art, Western and Eastern.
A solo show entitled "Opening the Circle" Huber has up paintings made up of collages on panel on the two galleries and their walls to your right and left. Straight ahead is a marvelous series of drawings. Seven installed side by side, they are a lovely greeting to your week and weekend.
Collages as paintings that point to the history of art, eh? The paintings are caked on things on panel, reasonably large to the eye; sensitive to the unwanted touch. (There's a lovely diptych entitled "Want" that I want, but cannot have. You can see it, appealing, above.) Gesso and plaster are the grounds on which Huber incises marks and doodles with the sharp end of a brush. Photos collaged, photo-transfers along with ink and blow-up bright colors effaced and undermined point to things that you didn't think you wanted to know. Now, the drawings, scribbles and art brut notation/writing are a little too (un)necessarily Basquiat-like, though, really, nowadays (and for the last nearly 30 years) what isn't?
But, the work hints at but doesn't point directly to earlier rather more sincere traditions of picture-making. You've got clay and plaster reliefs here and those go past classical back to downright ancient practices. There's the rich tradition of frescoes and egg tempera painting that pre-date the wide use and abuse of oil paints. And, how can I fail to see in the work the Arabesque lyricism that I've often fancied in this show, in that Mosque and that Spanish palace? That these traditions all valued white and whiteness as purity unmolested by the ravages of color is less of a leap that you'd think.
The drawings: they play on the the lilting rhythms of a day turning into night and, just beyond, another day. As a sequence they fulfill nearly everything I want out of seven drawings installed next to each other. They speak to me and they remain silent for me to say the next thing, even if I say nothing at all. I enjoyed them at a distance and I enjoyed them close up. And at each turn, they were different, but always interesting. I suspect you'll enjoy them too.
It's a shame I couldn't see this work earlier. The broader economy of art in much of the Hudson Valley doesn't allow for long open gallery hours and, like you unless you get a serious move on, I almost missed this show. Now, sure, that wouldn't have been a tragedy. But, maybe you needed to see good art over this past week, this past month and maybe you need to see some good art Saturday and into Sunday. Well, here's your chance-it's waiting for you.
Thomas Huber's "Opening the Circle" closes on June 8, 2014