“You can’t feel the waves rolling onto the shore. At least not a first. Then you notice them as a physical sensation, a tremor, a sound, a vision. Looking away from the land, the sea stretches out seeking a horizon: a far shore, or failing that, the edge of forever: an edge hidden or defined through light: reflecting or shattered or mirror calm. You stand there at the verge, full of yourself and your life, your thoughts and feelings, full of your history, your being, your emptiness. And in front of you the sea rolls in, wave after wave, coming at you from a far shore, or from forever, and meeting you now, at the point in time and space that is your very own,” Stephen Hutchings, 2012.
Hutchings uses a unique process starting with a digitally manipulated photographic “sketch”, then drawing with charcoal and eraser, building and shaping the forms in his paintings. The drawing is then overlaid with layers of thin oil glazes.
These new paintings are related to Hutchings’ major solo exhibition “Landscapes for the End of Time,” which opened in December 2010 at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, and travels in 2012 to the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon. As Petra Halkes states in her essay on that exhibition, “There is, perhaps, no image of nature more suited to the idea of loss of self into eternity than the image of sea, sky and sun.” Landscapes for the End of Time‘s title is a reference to composer Olivier Messiaen’s famous Quartet for the End of Time. Written during World War II while he was a prisoner of war facing probable death, Messiaen focused on the biblical reference to the ending of time in the Revelation of St. John. However, the music and the performance of it in the prison camp in January 1941 ultimately led to the release of Messiaen and the other musicians involved, thereby establishing an optimistic and somewhat ironic context for the composition. Landscapes for the End of Time is a series of paintings that examine ideas of temporality, permanence, and eternity. A hard cover, 160 page coffee table book about the exhibition and Hutchings’ work is published by the Glenbow.
Stephen Hutchings was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1948. He received a B.A. in Art History from the University of Toronto and attended the Ontario College of Art. He lived and worked in Banff, Alberta for almost 30 years and has recently moved to Ottawa.
Hutchings work can be found in numerous museums, corporate and public collections including the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Museum London, Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, the Banff Centre, University of Toronto, Department of Foreign Affairs, Scotiabank, Air Canada, Stikeman Elliot, Swiss Bank (Canada), Sun Life, and the Royal Bank of Canada.
A client of ours was in the gallery recently and chose a couple of interesting small artworks to buy. She told us that her architect brother had once instructed her that she should never have two things side-by-side. It is the conventional wisdom that it is preferable to hang odd numbers of artworks together, rather…Read More
Stephen Hutchings has an unusual technique of charcoal and oil for his monumental South Shore Nova Scotia landscapes. The technique softens and fades an image, giving it a dreamy, otherworldly quality. These paintings are technically amazing in capturing, for example, a sky pattern and light reﬂecting in still water by a marsh or a curving…Read More