March 11, 2019 - Timothy Tew
January 3, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hunt Slonem, “Bunnies, Birds & Lepidoptera.”
Opens February 22nd, 2019 6.00 – 9.00 p.m. On view through March 23rd.
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