January 3, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For More Information Contact
Jules Bekker 404.869.0511
Hunt Slonem, “Bunnies, Birds & Lepidoptera.”
Opens February 22nd, 2019 6.00 – 9.00 p.m. On view through March 18h.
TEW Galleries is pleased to announce our 3rd solo exhibition of whimsical and awe inspiring paintings by New York based artist and lifestyle trendsetter Hunt Slonem. Slonem is considered one of the great colorists of his time, color that he carries into his vibrant dress and the decoration of his historic homes.
Slonem first came to the New York art world’s notice in the mid-1970s and had his first solo exhibition at New York’s Harold Reed Gallery in 1977 and has subsequently had over 350 one-man shows in galleries and museums internationally. He has work in the permanent collections of over 100 museums globally including the Solomon R. Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. In 2015 the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, in conjunction with the Russian Academy of Arts and the Serge Sorokko Gallery held a one person Hunt Slonem exhibition featuring 34 important recent paintings.
Since 2014 Slonem has participated in over 36 exhibitions throughout the U.S. and Europe. He is well known for his neo-expressionist works of butterflies, rabbits and tropical birds, the latter often inspired by the exotic feathered friends he houses in an aviary in his New York studio. His love for animals has led to signature motifs like his bunny paintings, which are typically exhibited in Victorian-era portrait frames picked up from his travels across the country.
“Unlike a lot of contemporary art which is political or shocking or jarring, mine is non-judgmental, like an eternal witness that watches without judging. I’m also exhilarated by nature, including birds, plants and butterfly forms that most people don’t even know exist. I collected all of those things when I was an exchange student in Nicaragua, and caught my first morpho butterfly, which is an exquisite iridescent blue when I was 16. I think my art comes from being born somehow conscious of other realms, which is what the divine is all about. I grew orchids as a child, and have long recognized that orchids and birds come from those places as a gift to humanity.”
Slonem recently launched a textiles collection in partnership with Groundworks for Lee Jofa. He has had several coffee table books about his work and/or renovated historic properties published. These include; When Art Meets Design, published by Assouline, with 280 illustrations of his art and offering a dynamic view into his three fantastically decorated and meticulously restored homes. Hunt Slonem’s 2014 book titled Bunnies, is a luxurious, finely designed and printed collection of “bunny art” – an exciting, unexpected, impressionistic mega collection for adults and children alike and, very recently, a 100 copy limited edition Collector’s volume that comes with a signed Bunny print. In 2017 his coffee table book simply titled “Birds” was published.
While the idea of painting bunnies might initially seem trite, these marvelously quick and spirited works are not so much illustration as the capturing of nature and gesture with a delightful sense of pop-whimsy. The quickly sketched-from-life creatures’ peer from behind antique frames or frolic over fields of minimalist, thickly applied color. The effect is like a shot of some joyous potion.
Slonem has consistently revisited the same subject matter and has spent years perfecting and refining his techniques including the highly textural appeal of the incised or “combed” works that by altering the surface, seem to weave an other-worldly net, or curtain, between the subject and the viewer by simultaneously revealing and hiding aspects of the paintings. The acclaimed Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Henry Geldzahler said of Slonem that his obsessive and repetitive rendering of his subjects is reflective of his desire to explore issues of spatial complexity, compression and density and amounts to “a consistent investigation of post-cubist abstraction.” Geldzahler also observed, in 1993, that “Slonem is a painter, a painter’s painter with an enormous bag of technical tricks which become more apparent to the viewer the longer he stands before the work.”
About Hunt Slonem:
Hunt Slonem (born Hunt Slonem, in Kittery, Maine, on July 18, 1951) was the son of Jewish parents. His father was an officer in the US Navy and as a result, the family moved frequently. Growing up, he lived in Hawaii, Virginia, Connecticut, California and Washington State. He also spent time in Nicaragua as a high school exchange student and six months in Mexico while at university. Slonem received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tulane University and later took additional courses at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, where he was exposed to such influential artists as Louise Nevelson, Alex Katz, Alice Neel, Richard Estes and Jack Levine. He moved to New York City in 1973, and, in a nod to numerology and its focus on ‘power numbers’ changed the spelling of his surname from Slonem, to Slonem.
Hunt Slonem’s career in New York began to coalesce in 1975 and by 1977, he was offered his first solo exhibition at New York’s Harold Reed Gallery, followed by a solo at the prestigious Fischbach Gallery. During this period he got to know many of the notable names of the New York art and theatrical scene including Liza Minelli, Andy Warhol, Sylvia Miles and Truman Capote.
Slonem’s love of portraiture and nature, rabbits (he was born in the Chinese year of the Rabbit) birds and butterflies, in particular, began to rise to the forefront in this period.
The acclaimed Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Henry Geldzahler said of Slonem that his obsessive and repetitive rendering of his subjects is reflective of his desire to explore issues of spatial complexity, compression and density and amounts to “a consistent investigation of post-cubist abstraction.” Geldzahler also observed, in 1993, that “Slonem is a painter, a painter’s painter with an enormous bag of technical tricks which become more apparent to the viewer the longer he stands before the work.”
Books about Hunt Slonem:
Birds 2017, Hunt Slonem, Glitterati Inc., 272 pages, hard cover. Foreword by Jacqueline Borgad Weld; Essay by Anthony Haden-Guest
Paintings, Hunt Slonem; 2017. Hard cover. Published by the Moscow Museum of Modern Art and the Russian Academy of Arts
Limited Edition, Bunnies, 2016. One hundred signed limited edition books with an accompanying artist signed and numbered Bunny print.
Bunnies 2014, Hunt Slonem, Glitterati Inc., 271 pages, hard cover. Foreword by John Brendt; Essay by Bruce Helander
The Worlds of Hunt Slonem, Dominique Nahas, Vendome Press. 288 pages, hard cover
Where Art Meets Design, Hunt Slonem, Assouline, 299 pages, hard cover. Introduction by Emily Evans Eerdmans
Hunt Slonem, An Art Rich And Strange, 2012, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Publisher. Text by Donald Kuspit. 168 pages, hard cover.
October 1, 2018
August 23, 2018 - Jules Bekker
The purpose of this designer-specific catalog is to give people in the trade an easy-to-use reference resource and an overview of all the artists we carry. We are hoping that it will provide you a useful time saver for gauging your client's interest in specific artists or particular styles of work.
As a gallery, we understand your business needs and are happy to make every aspect of our mutual association as seamless as possible.
Timothy Tew, owner
May 4, 2018
Opens Friday, May 4 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Through June 15
TEW Galleries is pleased to present its first show for Chris Segre-Lewis, a young painter originally from Jamaica who spent his youth in Florida and now lives in Kentucky. While completing his MFA at the University of Kentucky, he discovered the horse country west of the Allegheny Mountains. Learning it had once been the “New Frontier”, this quickly developed into a reverence for the American landscape and a fascination with how artists envisioned it for more than 200 years. It also inspired him to develop his own approach to landscape painting.
Modernity is part of this approach and it is particularly evident in the quasi aerial perspectives which transform crisscrossing rivers and roads into bold, undulating lines and reshape the landscape into geometric shapes and abstract planes. Chris also achieves modernity through color combinations that are a daring and which would have once been considered fraudulent or even brazen. But these paintings also convey the sweep of past events, as if a camera lens had been left open for a long time, leaving us with a hazy sense of history. Curiously, this keeps pace with our short attention spans and actually causes us to slow down and take in these monumental vistas.
There is a final thing that makes these paintings modern and it is related to the Overview Effect, a term coined by American astronaut Frank White to describe the cognitive shift he experienced seeing earth as nothing more than a free-floating ball of vanishing boundaries and celestial wonder. Though Chris’ perspectives are far more familiar to our senses, he too has experienced a cognitive shift and through paintings that express the spiritual appeal of the perceptually overwhelming, he makes it possible for us to experience the earth as celestial as well.
- Timothy Tew
March 8, 2018
Cathy Hegman, an artist who lives on a farm in Mississippi, has established a reputation for creating thought provoking and emotionally evocative paintings inspired by the natural world. Since women, animals and the landscape are her preferred subject matter; her imagery is both familiar and comforting. However, because the women and animals are inwardly rather than outwardly focused and the landscapes are fragmented with very little detail; the paintings take on a mysterious, otherworldly quality. This is enhanced by the use of muted colors, surfaces that are alternately worn down and built up and by shrouding everything in an atmospheric haze, suggesting the passage of time even though we are actually just experiencing a single moment in the story.
One of the most intriguing things about Cathy Hegman’s paintings is how they seem to go in various directions at the same time. On the one hand the figures and animals are intimately connected; on the other they appear almost oblivious to the outer world; then alternately they seem to exude some authority over it. This leaves us wondering what is real and what is imagined, and what is in the past and what is actually supposed to be in the present. Cathy partially explains this when she says that she relives past feelings as she paints and the canvases serve as a mirror for her to see herself. The paintings also serve as mirrors for us to see ourselves and, because we cannot help but respond emotionally, they allow us to interact with situations and experience feelings that might otherwise be too uncomfortable to approach directly.
Looking at these painting we are quickly aware that Cathy has great empathy for people and animals, and that she portrays them as deeply connected and on a shared journey. This has symbolical importance and she says: “My most prevalent and personal symbols are animals and because I feel I have learned so much from them they represent protection, love, companionship, trust, loyalty and serenity.” There are also other symbols in her work, notably the circle which she uses to represent wholeness, perfection, eternity, timelessness, the Self and God and by placing a figure or animal on it, this symbolizes both wholeness and balance.
One of the great things about paint is the way it allows an artist to create layered imagery and atmosphere and to use marks and surface to represent thoughts, feelings, and the passage of time. It is to this end that some of what we see in a Cathy Hegman painting has been actively reworked. In fact she sometimes paints a figure as many as twenty times in order to arrive at a sense of authority. More importantly, this is what gives her art its sincerity.
TEW Galleries has represented Cathy Hegman since 2012 and we are pleased to present her first solo show with us in almost three years.
- Timothy Tew
January 20, 2018
Charles Keiger and I met soon after I discovered his art in an exhibition in Atlanta in 1989. At that time, his paintings were abstract: not much more than slashes of nuanced color and interestingly arranged patterns and shapes. His art has evolved enormously since then, and instead of using sizable brushes to cover large areas, he now paints with very small brushes and spends countless hours creating precisely controlled, immaculate imagery. Another enormous change is his subject matter, which is now highly individual, entertaining and tends to border on the mystical. But a few things have not changed: his love of color, pattern and form, and these underly everything he paints.
After Charles and I started working together, he began using watercolors to paint funny figures in circus-like settings surrounded by lots of negative space. I’m sure this reflected how odd he felt going from non-objective abstraction to representational imagery. Then he changed again and, painting in oils, his figures became more lifelike as his colors became more earthy. The narrative soon turned personal and more sober, and by combining surrealistic elements, for instance a tree growing a face on it, and quirky characters, like a man smoking a corncob pipe in a rural setting, Charles began to comment on his southern roots. More changes followed, many or them indicative of greater command of his craft, but also a far more original vision, and there were lots of entertaining things to look at. This latest body of work marks another shift, and this one is substantial. While the color has become verdant, atmospheric and pleasingly cool; the paintings are sparser. But more importantly, they are more masterful, thus more serious, and without losing their otherworldly quality, they are more real. I think Jules Bekker, our gallery director, describes them best when she says this is Magical Realism.
It takes a long time for one’s work and dedication to coalesce into success. Having watched Charles make the 30 year climb from abstraction to Magical Realism, I know how each step transformed his art. But still, without wands, potions or even a hog wart (though Charles does have a black cat), there has been no amount of magic in getting to this point. But then, what are fortitude, an overarching sense of destiny, belief in one’s vision and the support of a spouse?
When I asked Charles to tell me about this body of work, he replied: “I’ve been thinking a lot about something I read which said that an artist creates in order to expand happiness. I really like that because that’s what I’m trying to do. But I’m not interested in defining what happiness is, only encouraging it in other people.”
Charles Keiger has been represented by TEW Galleries since 1990.
- Timothy Tew
January 13, 2018 - Jules Bekker