Curated by Jess Frost
Harper’s Books is pleased to announce Radiant Swim, an exhibition of recent paintings by artist Elizabeth Huey, opening on December 24th, 2013, and on view through March 3rd, 2014. A reception for the artist will be held on January 4th, from 6 to 8pm.
For centuries, water has been used as a medicinal salve and as a symbol for emotions and the intangible. Elizabeth Huey’s new vibrant landscapes envision figures in various states of repose, reflection, and communion surrounded by watery elements. They splash in shimmering pools and gather under bright umbrellas amidst backdrops of scenic resorts and mountainside motels. Yet, there is more at play in these paintings than idyllic recreation. Huey’s enigmatic arrangement of characters, their interactions and intimate gestures, prompt curiosity and beg analysis.
An accomplished photographer and avid collector of found photos, the artist draws from her extensive source archive to highlight anomalies, both sublime and strange. Huey arranges isolated moments into a composite landscape creating an atmosphere that is psychologically charged. At various junctures the artist opts to harmonize or further fragment the disparate elements. The painting Red Sky Submersion reveals a vivid cast of characters, endearing and unsettling, dreamlike and real. In this painting, as in others, the pool offers a realm of therapeutic cleansing, a stabilizing center to the maelstrom of play.
Utilizing acrylic and oil, each with its own integrity, Huey emphasizes the materiality in each painting. Watery blue skies and pools have a translucent plasticity that is complemented by densely saturated details rendered in oil. In the sun-soaked Bath Ablaze, the surfaces range from smooth, glossy windows and water to textured rocks and sandstone. The materials often overlap, blurring boundaries between objects, while the impact of Huey’s emphatic mark making pulls each composition into a whole.
A selection of the artist’s photographs, both made and found are also on view, as well as collages that further demonstrate her process.
Born in Virginia Beach, Huey now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Before obtaining her MFA from Yale University, she earned a BA in Psychology from George Washington University and studied painting at both the Marchutz School in Aix-en-Provence, France, and the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture. She has received several awards including an Artist Research Fellowship from the Smithsonian Institution, a travel fellowship to Italy through Johns Hopkins University, and a Terra Foundation of American Art Fellowship and Residency in Giverny, France. Huey has exhibited both nationally and internationally and her paintings are held in collections such as the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia.
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