In his current exhibition 'Clearing,' Hundley uses two decades of unused material to craft explosive intricacy

Elliott Hundley needed some space. The artist culled together some two decades of material from his studio for Clearing, his current exhibition in Los Angeles at Regen Projects, on view through June 22, 2019. In doing so, Hundley gave this material, that sat unused in his studio, a new meaning and narrative. Composed of five panel collages and three bronze sculptural benches, Clearing brings the viewer inside Hundley’s mind—a symphony of color, chaos, and imagery. From a distance, Hundley’s work looks like an abstract explosion of color, but with a closer look, every brush stroke, image, and pin is executed with intention. Hundley hones in on a specific area of each of the five panel works, going into detail about the color and imagery within the section.

Left: Clearing I. Right: Detail from Clearing I.

“I have always been fascinated by the perceptual phenomenon of optical mixing, when two distinct and small colors are so close that they appear to the eye as a new blended color. I would love to create the illusion that the color is almost imperceptibly shifting and changing as you approach the painting.”

Left: Clearing II. Right: Detail from Clearing II.

“In this piece I just noticed that there are also very old cut up photographs of me dancing naked in white body paint. The tourniquet-like stripes on my arms and legs are those long skinny multi-colored balloons used for sculpting party animals. I remember trying to embody gestural abstraction for the camera.”

Left: Clearing III. Right: Detail from Clearing III.

“In all of these works my own performative gesture is recorded another way as well. The canvases are all a size just bigger than the reach of my own arm-span. When making each painting I stood directly in front without moving back or to the left or right. The compositions accumulate in the center in an almost centrifugal energy approximating the gradual dissipation of my peripheral vision.”

Left: Clearing IV. Right: Detail from Clearing IV.

“I started all of these works by gluing drawings to the canvas. In the case of this one painting the drawing is not my own. My son made a giant painting of Jesus with a big gray question mark over his face, only to immediately rip it to shreds. This is my attempt at reassembling and resurrecting his work.”

Left: Clearing V. Right: Detail from Clearing V.

“This is the first body of work in which I have incorporated encaustic paint, pigments suspended in hot wax. The heated wax would almost cool and dry by the time my brush traveled the distance to the canvas from the hotplate. The only viable way for me to work on a canvas this size was to move quickly and let the paint splatter, an uncontrolled counterpoint to the tedium of meticulous collaged clippings.”

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