New York Artist Promises to Shimmer and Surprise
“Hunt Slonem” at Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery March 1-31, 2016
Ambitiously Vivid Art with Bravura for Days
AUSTIN, Texas – Internationally recognized artist, Hunt Slonem, will have an eponymous exhibition on view at the Russell Collection from March 1 – 31, and it’s likely to be approximately as subtle as the sheen of Indian gemstones. In fact, the artist can be described in countless ways, but “minimalist” is not one of them. His studio occupies a staggering 30,000 square feet of space in Brooklyn and enjoys equally staggering views of the Manhattan skyline. Slonem is fond of describing his work as “exotica” and the term is apt; it features, among innumerable other things, “bunnies, birds and butterflies.” The artist claims he was first inclined to paint rabbits when he was dining in a Chinese restaurant and discovered via a fortune cookie that he “was born under the sign of the rabbit, 1951.” The aforementioned sign must also signal vast success because Slonem has been a prominent — not to mention lucrative — fixture on the world’s art scene for four decades and his Austin show promises to build on his already enviable reputation.
While Slonem’s paintings exude a fascination with the smallest of creatures exhibiting lush colors, his works are often huge in scale. He claims to begin each morning with small “gestural” images of bunnies and, perhaps surprisingly, he never finds the daily act of repetition dull. Instead, he describes creating ongoing versions of images to be a kind of reverential devotion, a “mantra” of sorts. Thus, his work is infused with a prayerful attitude that resonates with patrons of every age and background. Plus, to say he was precocious is an understatement. He knew he would become a painter “at age two.”
While Slonem’s work can hold its own in any venue, the man himself is equally mesmerizing. He avidly collects 19th-century tables, gothic furniture, top hats, harps and more. Said items fuel his creativity and, in fact, he uses them to furnish both his Brooklyn studio and three expansive homes. Two are legendary sprawling mansions in Louisiana requiring lavish renovation while yet another residence is located in upstate New York. According to lore, the former palatial structures come with ghostly occupants with whom Slonem communicates via clairvoyants. Put simply, he’s a fascinating character with an eye for anything outré — or gorgeous. The famous sapphire, “Star of India,” is yet another source of inspiration for Slonem; everything becomes fair game under his aegis, including flora, fauna, minerals, shells — and the visage of Abraham Lincoln.
Slonem’s world in kaleidoscopic and his fascination with materials, including wallpaper, rugs and textiles is beguiling. Anyone who has seen his work knows he’s constantly evolving and operates as a high-speed, creative powerhouse. He seemingly channels widely diverse material from sources that are nearly inexhaustible. While no one finds his skills as a raconteur disappointing — his show, aptly named “Hunt Slonem,” is likely to be this season’s visual extravaganza.
Artist’s Reception: Hunt Slonem will be available to meet guests at Russell Collection Fine Art on Saturday, March 5, from 6 – 9 p.m. The event is open to the public and an RSVP is requested. 512-478-4440.
Gallery hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Where: Russell Collection Fine Art, 1137 West 6th St., Austin, Texas 78703-5338
www.russell-collection.com, email@example.com, www.facebook.com/russellcollection
2016/03/01 - 2016/03/31
Additional time info:
Meet Hunt Slonem on Saturday, March 5 from 6-9 pm.