Daniel Hutchinson

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Daniel Hutchinson at Angell Gallery


Terrence Dick, Akimbo

Given that we are a good decade-plus past the end of the 20th Century, the question, “Is it art?” is one I tend not to wrestle with at the far reaches of the territory we inhabit. So much frontier work has happened in the ninety-five (!) years since Fountain that you really can’t get hung up on anything too out there. We’ve spent so much time out there, you just shrug your shoulders and say, “Sure, it’s art, now let’s get down to business.” However, the same question in the other direction can often pin me to the mat. When the work has all the elements of art and is kind enough to appear in a gallery, the same question might just be a sly way of asking, “Is it good art?” Or, taking the line of inquiry in a subtly different direction, the question could also be, “Is it art or just entertainment?”

Daniel Hutchinson

Daniel Hutchison is also non-problematically a painter and his canvases at Angell Gallery are quick to introduce themselves, but hard to get to know. They are all basically black (with another tone occasionally coming through from below) and rely on the play of light across the texture of the brush-strokes in order to capture movement and patterns that evoke (even without the aid of titles) water in various states of agitation. It is undoubtedly a limited palette, but when it works, there’s something sublime in the darkness.

Related link: Daniel Hutchinson – Half-Light Over the Baltic Sea

Review: Daniel Hutchinson at Angell Gallery


Sophia Farmer, A.CENTRIC

Angell Gallery is displaying the work of Daniel Hutchinson in his first Toronto based solo exhibition, Half-Light Over the Baltic Sea. Hutchinson’s near monochrome oil paintings were derived from his recent residency on the island of Gotland, Sweden. The works evoke seascapes with a sun just below the horizon; the ever shifting light and cool temperature of the approaching night.

The show consists of a series of medium to large paintings of various shapes including squares, circles, rectangles and ovals. The majority of the works featured are painted on panels. Beneath the swirling halting lines, which create a sense of depth to the work, the panel shows through creating rosy halftones in the painting. However, the most remarkable works present in the show are “Disappearance at Sea” and “Rollers,” which are painted on drafting film. This unique choice of base creates a more weightless painting, than those created on panels, and brings a silvery tone to the waves.

While most two-dimensional representations of the sea are static, the paintings in this exhibit have a dynamic sense of volatility. Hutchinson’s use of high-gloss paint and fluid brushstrokes give a spectacular impression of movement. Largely thanks to the extremely successful lighting of the gallery, the paintings are ever-changing. The highly reflective surfaces enable the viewer to encounter a new image each time they alter their position in respect to the work.

Rendered in a variety of dark, cool hues, Hutchinson’s paintings verge on abstraction. Some of the most interesting works are those with the greatest simplicity, like “Great Wave.” This deep turquoise painting gives the impression of a single cresting wave, which contrasts his more intricate scenes like “A Storm on the Baltic Sea.”

Overall, Half-Light Over the Baltic Sea is a very cohesive show with a rational progression to the works. Though they all have very similar technique, style, material and tone, Hutchinson creates new and original marks in each one which distinguish each painting as unique from the last.

Half-Light Over the Baltic Sea runs until March 24.

Related link: Daniel Hutchinson – Half-Light Over the Baltic Sea

Daniel Hutchinson: Half-Light Over the Baltic Sea


Christopher Young, Viewers Like You

After winning the Brucebo Summer Residency award last year, Daniel Hutchinson had the opportunity to travel to Sweden and stay in a remote cabin on the island of Gotland. Hutchinson spent the next three months, "surrounded by ocean, rainbows, and rolling storms," allowing him to absorb all the natural wonder of the Baltic Sea. This influence is clearly felt in his latest collection, Half-Light Over the Baltic Sea, on display now at Angell Gallery. The result is a body of work that is as mesmerizing in its approach as it is in subject matter. Sweden in summer experiences exceptionally long daylight hours, and Daniel spoke about wanting to capture images that occur during those brief moments between sunlight which never become fully dark. "It's sort of a half-light period, a time of transition where the forms become really accentuated because the colour spectrum is narrowed."

Certainly the collection is in keeping with this muted and compressed colour palette, but what is truly amazing is the texture and finish of each piece. While it is difficult to tell from the included photos in this post, the luminescent highlights of the work are not technically rendered in any of the paintings. What you're seeing is simply the way the light catches the paint, allowing it to shine like waves in moonlight. It's a technique the artist achieved by mixing hidden colour, underpainting, and glazing. This allows for an impression of meticulous depth, and an almost metallic sheen that really must be viewed in person to fully appreciate.

Hutchinson's style extends beyond just a practical effect, and he explains how his materials were integral to the theme of his work, "I'm representing waves and water, but I'm also hoping to foreground the materiality of paint equally. Paint being a medium that catches light, it has a lustre, it has a texture, and it is also very organic, it's full of chance. It is an analogue to water in some ways." The collection will be exhibited until March 24th and I urge you to go see it for yourself.

Related link: Daniel Hutchinson – Half-Light Over the Baltic Sea

Daniel Hutchinson's Hypnotic Half-Light Seascapes


Priscilla Frank, The Huffington Post

"Half-light alludes to the time of day when the sun is just below the horizon, flooding the atmosphere and landscape with its last light."

Daniel Hutchinson's new exhibition at Angell Gallery, titled, "Half-Light Over the Baltic Sea," features near-monochrome seascape paintings made during a sojourn in Sweden.

As you'll see in the slideshow below, the images look more like dark galaxies than traditional representations of the sea. Light touches the tips of swirling, painted ribbons of darkness, creating rich textural mandalas that seem to radiate light from within. The paintings don't just capture a certain moment of the sea, it is itself in motion; as natural light bounces off the canvas the waves swirl and subside.

The sea waves begin to take on identities all their own; some look like tufts of smoke and others a braid of long, black hair. There is no one way to see the paintings, as real light is a material in the works and is constantly shifting. Due to this uncontrollable variable in the works, they are constantly on the verge of pure abstraction; their subjects could be swallowed up, into the darkness if one isn't careful.

Hutchinson's first solo exhibition in Toronto, "Half-Light Over the Baltic Sea" will show until March 24 at Angell Gallery in Toronto.

Related link: Daniel Hutchinson – Half-Light Over the Baltic Sea

Today in Toronto: Daniel Hutchinson, Four at the Winch Quebec and more


Toronto Life Staff, Toronto Life

Daniel Hutchinson Hutchinson’s paintings exist in what might be called a double world. Grooves and ridges in the works capture light differently as the viewer passes by, simultaneously revealing and concealing parts of the subject. When Hutchinson does use colour in these grey-heavy abstracts, it has an unexpected and exhilarating impact. Artwork $1,200–$6,600.

Related link: Daniel Hutchinson – Half-Light Over the Baltic Sea

Art that Avoids the Apocalypse


R.M. Vaughan, The Globe and Mail

The world was supposed to end twice this year, and is scheduled to come to a crashing halt again in 2012, according to the Mayan calendar hysterics (and Euroskeptics).

Perilous times – and yet, I don’t see a lot of millennial or end-times anxiety in contemporary art (as I certainly did in the late 1990s). Artists are either too smart to buy into such perennial prophecies, or too self-absorbed. Likely both.

Thus, I predict 2012 will offer the visual-arts enthusiast experiences counter to the furies raging in the outside world – not pure escapism, but a different kind of questioning of norms and reality, one more considered, long-viewed and far more attractive.

Or, I could be wholly wrong, and artists will start smashing televisions, shredding plush toys and making blood paintings, again. Thank you, but no.

For the following upcoming exhibitions, I can at least promise that any or all of the above actions are highly unlikely. Not impossible, mind you….

Daniel Hutchinson at Angell Gallery

Feb. 23-March 24, 12 Ossington Ave., Toronto; angellgallery.com

Hutchinson’s penchant for dramatic multimedia works that explore the role of stages – humble shelf spaces to rotundas to platforms and theatres – and his crisp mixing of slate and fieldstone colours with occasional bouts of hot neon typically translates into a kind of oxymoronically serene spectacle. His new works promise to further these investigations, perhaps with a bit more colour (okay, that is me asking for a bit more colour). In 2011, Hutchinson was a semi-finalist for the RBC Canadian Painting Competition, and they don’t just hand those out to anybody.

Related link: Daniel Hutchinson – Half-Light Over the Baltic Sea

Daniel Hutchinson @ Angell Gallery's 2011 Summer Group Show


Modern Toronto

Daniel Hutchinson’s paintings are typified by the mantra of ‘all black everything’ as rare colour usage, when present, is minimal and bright, layered upon masked black painted imagery. Upon viewing Hutchinson’s work in a gallery setting one realizes how fundamentally important light is in absorbing the purpose of his brush strokes. As light bounces off the canvas, like grooves on fresh vinyl, you are forced to shift your physical position to reveal the subject of his work. Check out Daniel’s work at Angell Gallery’s summer group show on now until August 20th.

Related link: Summer Group Show

The Finer Details

Leah Sandals, The National Post

With new galleries popping up as far west as the Junction, the east end seems more remote than ever to some art scenesters. But it’s still well worth a visit, as these three area exhibitions demonstrate.

Daniel Hutchinson at G Gallery
234 Queen St. E., to May 14

Looking at Daniel Hutchinson’s paintings is like seeing landscape through a glass, darkly. Created using a computer sketching program and snippets of blackish paint layered on to drafting film, the local artist’s images of trees and amphitheatres break down into expanses of triangles, rectangles and lines that evoke the digital wireframe craze of the first-run Tron era. As a bonus, Hutchinson’s paint surfaces are striated, resembling vinyl record grooves and catching the light in much the same manner. The result: landscapes that morph visually as you walk through the space, much as views of an actual landscape might. Best in show is Fort City Bandshell, which amps a sci-fi feel by contrasting a perfect half-shell structure and some ersatz trees. Still, much of the appeal of these paintings lies not in their scenes but in their surfaces — they’re oily, gooey and changeable while also being very neat and tidy, a nice mix. An adjacent room holds a video by Stockholm artist Cecilia Nygren that also touches on landscape, but Hutchinson’s cohesive, visually appealing work is the main draw here.

The Un-Set Stage: Daniel Hutchinson’s Zero Dimensions


Erin Eller, Mass Art Guide

In the world of theatre, repetition is an essential element to both the rehearsal and the performance processes. Lines and scenes are memorized, music cues are assigned, and the actors are told where to stand and how to move. These actions are repeated until a specific aesthetic is formed, and the framework of the show is constructed. Because this aesthetic is duplicated each performance, live theatre has attained an aura of the uniform, or the unchanging. Stage performances, however, are full of chance, mutation, and creation. Although the lines and scenes are rehearsed, differences are inevitable with each new production. These natural shifts make every presentation a unique event.

Daniel Hutchinson is one artist who examines how repetition breeds difference within the realm of the theatre and the visual arts. Working with a monochrome palette, Hutchinson meticulously recreates stage settings using a series of black-on-black lines. On the surface, these replications appear to be static renderings of a stage, but conversely, they are actually studies of disparity and alteration.

Void of any human figures, the ‘actors’ of Hutchinson’s artworks are striated geometric shapes. Upon first glance, the shapes appear to be symmetrical, however closer inspection yields a string of variations.

These differences are due to Hutchinson’s deliberate modification of the painted surface. Using a syringe, the artist drops paint throughout the work and allows gravity to create discord within the piece. As seen in “Act IV”, Hutchinson’s two circular ‘actors’ vie for space on an empty black stage. These circles are in turn made up of a series of lines that have each been touched by Hutchinson’s paint-filled syringe. Similar to performing scenes on the stage, each line in the circle’s perimeter creates an individual structure unlike any of its counterparts.

Hutchinson also paints empty theatre spaces, such as his boldly geometric work, “Chichester”. This maze-like scene reconstructs the image of a theatre through the use of angled black lines. As the viewer walks past the piece, the shifting light simultaneously reveals and conceals the carefully painted surface. Once again, the deliberate anomalies of each paint stroke can be noted. Like live theatre, this stage may appear to be a space of repetition, but as Hutchinson depicts, it is actually a site for metamorphosis.

Short listed for the RBC National Painting Competition, Daniel Hutchinson’s Zero Dimensions is on display through November 15th at Galerie Push.


Daniel Hutchinson @ Galerie Push


Flight + Hotel

”Zero Dimensions” til Nov. 15

Daniel Hutchinson has taken the monochrome painting out of abstraction and made it into a scene on a theatrical stage no less.Slick and stylized Hutchinson’s meticulous and carefully applied striations of glossy black paint create a convincing depth. The theatre spaces that these paintings depict are immediately apparent despite their monochrome rendering as their construction is sketched out by the way that surface reflects light which can be best described as shiny black groves reminiscent of vinyl records (and this nostalgia, I suspect, is my deepest attraction).

The next layer to the piece is the depiction of the theatre itself – spaces where we are often left in the dark to watch. Where we usually know that light is colour, here we learn that form can exist in darkness. We are witness to an illusion.

The theatres depicted are not the representations of real theatres (although their titles indicate they could be (the tryptic is called Stratford), but have been created in a computer program. They are spaces of the imagination on which we can project our own imagination.

Mind you, the series are not all monochrome. Hutchinson, gives the stage some players in the form of bright pinks and orange sticks forming circles. But the monochromes are the most compelling.

Navigation. Darkness.

Sara Hartland-Rowe, Galerie PUSH

Navigation is an ancient art that guides the movement of bodies through unknown spaces. The verticality of the human body, the horizontality of the ground under our feet, and the pull of gravity on both of these are the constants of human movement. Paradoxically, the first navigational tool, the constellations set in the night sky, was virtual. A disembodied, weightless, axis-free image was used as the trusted guide for bodily movement. Zero Dimensions considers space and movement through painting. With the simplest of means – paint striations in essentially monochrome painting – Daniel Hutchinson engages the viewer in a complex, spatial navigation of theatre and stadium, highlighting the body’s relationship to gravity, horizontality and verticality, and virtual space.

In the earliest work in this exhibition (Act I (Reprise)), the viewer is situated in a seemingly stable relationship to the painted theatre. Although we seem suspended slightly above the horizon line, we could be standing on a balcony, and thus the scene is continuous with our embodied spatial logic. We seem to be invited into the scene. Yet within this logical space is the continual play of light on the surface of the painting. These shifts might be caused by one’s own movement in front of the work, or of movement within the gallery, or even changes in light outside. And this flickering over the surface, as light catches and then passes over the ridged painting, implies a vivid life within the painting itself to which we are not privy and which we cannot hold. The stability of stage and perspective, of vantage-point, even of uniform black paint, is perpetually undermined by the ephemeral and indeterminate movement over – seemingly within – the painting.

A slightly later painting (Act 2 (Reprise)) increases this sense of an unknowable space with a wonderfully simple coup-de-theatre that acts as both visual and verbal pun. Again through the straight-forward use of directional brush-mark, Hutchinson marks out a polygon above the stage. This implies what in the theatre is called a baffle, a hidden panel used to adjust sound. If one reads this as a perspectival rectangle the spatial order of the painting remains constant and knowable. However, if it is read as a trapezoid, it undermines any continuous plane between viewer and the space of the painting, and becomes instead an opening into another, non-linear space, an intrusion into the otherwise perspectivally constant field. Now the paintings are alive with the movement of both light and space. It is a life existing inside the clean edge of the painting, elusive, ephemeral and unfixed.

Recent paintings build on a sense of spatial bafflement. In Chichester, we are thrown into a precipitous space. The stability of ground plane felt in earlier paintings now drops away. If we are on a balcony, it is one that stands high above the stage, looking into a Piranesi-like complex of stairs, platforms and columns. In a painting such as Stratford Triptych, the width of the painting means that just as one cannot finally define horizon or ground plane, nor can one fix what is visible – forms shift from light and seen, to soot black and lost. In the darkness of the painting, light catches on form to give a sense of up and down, near and far. But as the viewer moves, or the light in the gallery changes, these knowable fields disappear; the viewer must relocate the ground plane, the horizon, the vertical and the horizontal. Navigation. The body finding its way to unknown spaces.

Through all this is the dense blackness of the paintings. Black against white gallery walls, soot black, liquorice black. Black so deep that it stops being colour and surface, and turns into space.

In a painting such as Seats, the paint striations give a range of deep greys that describe ranks of seats set oblique to the viewer. The dark painting underlines a sense of invisibility. Looking at the seats, we cannot see the stage to know what is happening there. Equally, the empty seats don’t face us, but look past us, at an angle from us. As one moves past the painting, rows of seats like tombstones are lit and then fade again into the shadows. We remain invisible outsiders, hushed by darkness.

This painting, like the others that precede it, is made by working onto the panel with directional brush-marks. For the most recent paintings in the show, Hutchinson has started to work onto other surfaces, paper and mylar, from which shapes are then cut and pasted to the panel. The blacks he is able to achieve with this process are astonishingly deep. Stadium II, made with a deep purple-black on mylar offers planes of the painting that seem to fall away into endless space. Light now moves through the painting like liquid, pouring into one area so that it blooms into sight, draining silently from another such that what was once readable as a painted surface disappears into what seems to be a bottomless void.

Hutchinson began the recent paintings with a computer program called ‘Sketch-Up’. This program is of use to architects and planners, allowing them to quickly draw three-dimensional rectilinear forms with accurate perspective. Hutchinson uses it to create his complex, multi-storied and stair-cased spaces. But though the program begins with finding a horizon line, and fixing the vanishing point, it is a digital program. It alludes to embodied space; it is itself virtual. It is virtual space’s detachment from gravity that we experience in the latest work. Stadium II is closer to El Lisstizky than Piranesi. Verticality, horizontality and especially gravity are now suspended. Navigation is movement through virtual space. And the black of these beautiful paintings is the endless black of the night sky.

Turning 3D to 0D

Stacey Dewolfe, Montreal Mirror

All manner of theatre-related quotes (Shakespeare, Ibsen, Rush’s “Limelight”) come to mind when thinking about the work of Halifax-based painter Daniel Hutchinson, whose show Zero Dimensions opens this evening, Thursday, Oct. 15 at Push Gallery (5264 St-Laurent).

For the past few years, Hutchinson—who was nominated for the 2009 RBC Painting Competition—has focused on painted reproductions of architectural and theatrical spaces. Though I have yet to see Hutchinson’s work in the flesh, a perusal of the artist’s website has built up my anticipation.

Beginning with a series of digitally created 3D renderings of what look to be stage sets, the images are then painstakingly recreated in a painting with exacting precision. Hutchinson uses one directional brushstroke, which give the works a sort of pulsing dynamism, and the resulting interplay of light and dark makes the images glow, as though lit from within.

Depth and perspective are also transformed by the direction of the brushstrokes. As the viewer moves across the image, their relationship with the image is altered, creating a greater sense of the work as an expressive, performative space.