The Art of Bill Hutson

The Art of Bill Hutson is a city-wide exhibition celebrating the work of artist Bill Hutson. Born in 1936 and raised in the Dunbar neighborhood of San Marcos, Texas, Hutson later became one of the most innovative artists of his generation. His vibrant, dynamic compositions are layered with historical references and personal symbolism. Frequently abstract, they give form to often intangible feelings and encounters that resist representation in conventional ways, many of them unique among Black Americans whose experiences are shaped by perseverance and pride in the face of generational displacement and marginalization. This exhibition brings more than sixty unique objects and process drawings to the artist's hometown of San Marcos for the very first time.

The Art of Bill Hutson is a collaboration between the Calaboose African American History Museum, the Price Center, the San Marcos Art League, the Texas State Galleries, and the Walkers' Gallery, with support from the San Marcos Arts Commission, the City of San Marcos, the San Marcos Public Library, and Cardinal Frame & Art. The art on view is on temporary loan from the artist's studio and from the Phillips Museum at Franklin & Marshall College, where Hutson is Professor Emeritus. Hutson, now 86 years old, currently lives and works in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

LOCATIONS:

Bill Hutson, The Opening, 1978, ink on paper, 22 x 30 inches

Bill Hutson, The Opening, 1978, ink on paper, 22 x 30 inches.

Calaboose African American History Museum

The Art of Bill Hutson: The Opening
January 15–April 2, 2022
200 W. Martin Luther King Dr., San Marcos, TX

Find location-specific exhibit information HERE.

As part of The Art of Bill Hutson, the Calaboose African American History Museum is featuring an installation of works by the artist, the centerpiece of which is The Opening, an evocative painting that refers to the Island of Gorée in Senegal, one of the largest slave trading centers on the African coast from the 15th–19th century. There is a natural synergy between The Opening and its temporary home in Hutson’s birthplace, the city of San Marcos. Having grown up just a few blocks away from where the Calaboose now stands, Hutson has roots in the historic African American Dunbar neighborhood and as such, this neighborhood is an opening to his formative experiences. The Opening is inspired by his time at Gorée Island later in life, and speaks to the duality of the African American experience—one that is categorized by a nation state but is also simultaneously uprooted from another. This piece and others displayed at the Museum insist that we acknowledge the tension of grappling with the Afro Diasporic displacement that many African Americans in the United States, consciously or unconsciously experience.

Bill Hutson, Image of Scorpius, 2019, giclée print, 10 ¾ x 8 ¾ inches.Bill Hutson, Variations on a Marigold (With Scorpius) For Estee Mayim Altman, 2019, giclée print, 10 ¾ x 8 ¾ inches.

San Marcos Art Center

The Art of Bill Hutson: Image of Scorpius
January 12–March 20, 2022
117 N. Guadalupe St., San Marcos, TX

Find location-specific exhibit information HERE.

The San Marcos Art Center is proud to present Image of Scorpius. Whereas all of the other venues hosting The Art of Bill Hutson feature work on loan from the Phillips Museum at Franklin & Marshall College, the San Marcos Art Center is displaying the only work on loan from the artist’s studio. The piece, titled Variations on a Marigold (With Scorpius) For Estee Mayim Altman, is the only work by Bill Hutson for sale as part of the exhibition. The original print was made from a painting created for Estee Mayim Altman, the daughter of one of Hutson’s former students. It represents a flower and numerous stars loosely arranged according to the Scorpius cosmos.

Bill Hutson, Oba II (The Oba's Room), 1995–1996, acrylic paint on canvas, 40 ⅜ x 39 ⅞ x 3 ⅛ inches.Bill Hutson, Oba II (The Oba's Room), 1995–1996, acrylic paint on canvas, 40 ⅜ x 39 ⅞ x 3 ⅛ inches.

The Price Center

The Art of Bill Hutson: Works in 3D
January 15–February 26, 2022
222 W. San Antonio St., San Marcos, TX

Find location-specific exhibit information HERE.

The Price Center is featuring a six-piece installation of 3D works by Bill Hutson, the centerpieces of which are Oba II (The Oba's Room) and Tactile Series, Study #9. Both are indicative of Hutson’s unique vision and style—combining form, texture, and color in abstract presentations to create deceivingly simple-looking works that examine complex themes and ideas.

Hutson spent a year living in Nigeria in the mid-1970’s and was invited to meet the Oba (King) in his palace. The architecture and unique forms inspired Hutson to create The Oba’s Room, based on his impressions of the space during the meeting with the Oba. The result is an engaging and lush wall-mounted 3D work celebrating form, architecture, and ornamentation.

Tactile Series, Study #9 and its supporting studies take the viewer on a similar journey using a different subject and palette. This one proves ahead of its time with an interactive component by offering the show’s curator a chance to rearrange the five elements for different compositions.

Bill Hutson, Homestead with signs, symbols and numbers, acrylic on canvas, 1979–1990, 83 ¾ x 113 ¾ inches.Bill Hutson, Homestead with signs, symbols and numbers, acrylic on canvas, 1979–1990, 83 ¾ x 113 ¾ inches.

Texas State Galleries

The Art of Bill Hutson: Homestead
September 15, 2021– May 18, 2022
233 W. Sessom, San Marcos, TX

Find location-specific exhibit information HERE.

The exhibition of works by Bill Hutson on view at Texas State Galleries is anchored by Homestead with signs, symbols and numbers, a painting that derives from the artist’s memory of his family’s multi-generational property at 733 Center Street in San Marcos. The painting contains numerous references to the site and to San Marcos, references that hold personal significance for the artist. The confluence of abstraction and representation in the piece, coupled with the overlapping of forms and lack of over all depth, allows for a composition that is free of a specific time or space—as elusive as the memories it represents. According to the artist, “... there was an invincible quality about San Marcos, a concealed magnetism, covert vitality and sacrosanct ambiance generated by the town’s past. … I wanted to convey the natural and metaphysical dimensions of a homestead.”

Tree that is not finished art by Bill Hutson

Bill Hutson, Tree that is not Finished...Yet, 1977, oil paint on canvas, 14 x 10 ½ inches. 

Walkers' Gallery @ the San Marcos Public Library

The Art of Bill Hutson: Trees are never finished…
January 15, 2021– April 9, 2022
625 E. Hopkins St., San Marcos, TX

Trees are never finished…, the Walkers’ exhibit at the San Marcos Public Library, loosely documents five decades of Bill Hutson’s artistic journey.

From San Marcos, TX, to the world—coast to coast, continent to continent—Hutson visited  more than 22 countries, living and working in many of them. Throughout his vast travels, he relentlessly researched the art of others, past and present, and explored materials and techniques to respond to his own ever-evolving vision and sensibility. Hutson ultimately found  his “creative language”  in abstraction. 

While some of his early works address issues of identity through the use of African signs, symbols and motifs, Hutson says that his art is essentially “about color and the juxtaposition  of pattern and texture to compose and arrange materials and space until it achieves an  emotional resonance.”

Through the 24 images on display, the viewer can find evidence of his artistic footprints from  1952 to 2002.  

 

All artwork courtesy of the Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College. All rights reserved. Photographs: Madelynn Mesa.

Funded in part by the San Marcos Arts Commission.