Glen Coburn Hutcheson: Boxers and Friends

Glen Coburn Hutcheson: Boxers and Friends, July 3-August 2, 2020, The Front gallery, 6 Barre St., Montpelier. There will be a virtual artist talk via zoom on July 21 at 7pm (please email us if you’d like to attend). In-person viewing by appointment or Fridays 4-7, Saturdays and Sundays 11-2; we ask visitors to wear masks and not to visit if they have had signs of illness. For more information email info@thefrontvt.com or call 802-552-0877.

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Glen Coburn Hutcheson’s new work marks a turn towards the personal. In his series of sculptures, he makes abstract forms out of starched clothing – often his own discarded t-shirts and boxers. The forms twist, grow, and embody the same sense of spontaneity as his earlier series of colorful squiggle paintings. Hutcheson has often returned to the body and to a traditional approach to painting and drawing the figure from life. With these works, he references classical sculptures, where the human form is revealed through careful attention to the folds and draping of fabric, while leaving out the body entirely. The result suggests the body without being restricted to its proportions or movement. The abstractions he creates are on first impression formally intriguing and visually dynamic, but then the viewer gets hit with the realization that these are old boxers; the sculptures are funny and intimate. They speak to the weird dynamics of art (and sculpture in particular) as an expensive, inaccessible luxury for many, but often created by those who cannot afford to purchase it. Hutcheson’s pricing formula, which works on a sliding scale, seeks to change both the perceptions and realities of who can afford to own art.

Some of the sculptures seem like characters, and that sensibility continues in Hutcheson’s comics. Tiny vignettes of his own world-in-lockdown, the cartoons come across as specific but familiar – the dog always home, the sourdough starter gradually becoming sentient. In all of this work, there’s a snapshot of a particular moment seen in fabric frozen mid-move or a character’s thought bubble, but also a sense of the span of time, like the t-shirt that hangs around past its prime or the endlessness of lockdown.

Hutcheson’s combination of artistic skill and jokey humor will give viewers something surprising, beautiful, and meaningful – but that also doesn’t take itself too seriously. We hope you’ll find it a respite, and a relief.