Richard Hunt: Details

Chicago-based artist Richard Hunt (b. 1935) emerged in the late 1950s as one of the foremost practitioners of “direct-metal” sculpting, an additive process that involves manipulating material directly rather than carving or casting it. By welding together scrap metal, such as discarded automobile mufflers and table legs, Hunt creates expressive and intriguingly organic structures that mobilize the space around them.

Hunt explored the graphic potential of these forms during a residency at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles in 1965. Working with master printer Kenneth Tyler, he produced a suite of 8 lithographs entitled Details, along with 17 independent prints, which use a range of visual strategies to engage with the artist’s sculptural practice. Spare line drawings stress the linear profiles of sculpture, activating uninked white paper to define shape and space. Gestural, painterly compositions suggest the surface textures of welded metal, and employ an acid-based technique pioneered by Tyler to create tonal gradations and a sense of depth. In the few color prints, muted tones of ochre, maroon and teal allude to metallurgical processes of melting, corrosion and patination. These lithographs position us within Hunt’s sculptures, using closely cropped views to heighten their surrealistic effects while underscoring the impossibility of seeing three-dimensional objects all at once.

Richard Hunt: Details features a selection of the prints that Hunt made at Tamarind to show how lithography complemented and advanced the artist’s interests as a sculptor. By forging a dialogue between these two mediums, Hunt draws our attention to the complexity of three-dimensional form and the process of perceiving it.