"Heure d' Été" | Hunt Slonem

Martine Chaisson Gallery

727 Camp Street

August 1st - August 31st, 2020

Press Release

Hunt Slonem was born in Kittery, Maine in 1951. His fascination with exotica imprinted during his childhood in Hawaii and experience as a foreign exchange student in Managua, Nicaragua. Slonem received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Tulane University of Louisiana and studied painting at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

Since 1977, Slonem soloed in over one hundred fifty exhibitions at prestigious galleries. His work is exhibited globally, including in Madras, Quito, Venice, Gustavia, San Juan, Guatemala City, Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Stockholm, Oslo, Cologne, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. Over fifty museums internationally include his work in their collections, among them The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York. His work has been shown in thirty-one different museums. Corporate collections include American Telephone and Telegraph, Chase Manhattan Bank, Citibank, Continental Airlines, Goldman Sachs Co., IBM Corporation, Marriot Corporation, Paine Webber, Inc., Port Authority, and Readers Digest Inc. He won the 1991 National Endowment for the Arts Grant in Painting, and McDowell Fellowships in 1986, 1984 and 1983.

Since 1973, Slonem has lived and worked in New York City in his Brooklyn loft with his 70 pet birds. So brilliant and unique are his aviary, studio, lifestyle and artistic practice that Slonem has been featured on television a dozen times and in several articles. In his 1993 essay, the late Henry Geldzahler describes, "The visual field of Hunt Slonem's paintings is a continuum accented by ovals of varying shape and colors that it turns out are birds." The birds evolved from Slonem's early paintings of saints as well as inspiration from the pioneers of bird imagery in painting, including Fabritsius, Heade and Audubon. Audubon shot one hundred birds for each painting. Slonem also frequently uses butterflies to represent his vision of hope and transformation, seeing them as flashes of the ephemeral made real in textured paint. Reflections is part of an ongoing series on butterflies which draws upon the artist’s observation and admiration of their splendor. Slonem’s expressionist style, which incorporates rich colors and high energy, is widely recognized for its ethereal beauty. Maybe his most iconic and recognizable symbol and gesture is that of the bunny – which he recalls is his Chinese Zodiac sign and a powerful representation of good fortune and happiness.

To Hunt Slonem, repetition is divinity. Just like the act of repeating a phrase creates a mantra, the object is elevated and the act of repeating these forms becomes an act of worship. The process of painting is sacred to Slonem, and as a result, his body of work represents so much more than what's painted on the canvas.

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