Monday, March 04, 2013

DU CHAU + LETITIA HUCKABY at Kirk Hopper Fine Art

Letitia Huckaby - Sarena, 2012, pigment print on watercolor
paper, 20" x 30," Edition of 7 repost

I was out Thursday of last week, visiting art galleries and most everyone was gearing up for this weekend. Even the MADI museum is opening with a Victor Varsarely show that will be a must see. Kirk Hopper Fine Art was installing their show and I briefly met their featured artist Du Chau. His politically charged photographs were prominently featured in the large space, but for me Letitia Huckaby's combined work titled "Bygone" stole the show.

Letitia Huckaby is a hybrid form artist, who uses photography with textile crafts, creates images rooted in her family narrative. Though this show references only quilted material as part of her subject matter; I can still feel a real continuity with her older work. Her central figure is a ghostly powerful shadow showing through the decorative quilted sheet. Huckaby is not depicting a tragic history as Kara Walker's silhouettes, but shadows of a more recent past filled with hopes, dreams, and aspirations for the future. I felt lifted up by Huckaby's work. A history of family was implied in the figure and the quilted sheet only bolsters that idea.

I recall briefly visiting her studio in grad school. Huckaby was printing photos on quilts then and a few of her photo colleagues grumbled about her process. They didn’t understand that all material is open to being printed upon and photography isn’t limited to the purely traditional material of paper. Most photography tells a story and Huckaby weaves in a stronger narrative by using or depicting her textiles.

Though Du Chau silkscreen prints his images; the work looked like your basic Photoshop messing collage. Chau generally created two juxtaposed images to create a narrative, which made for a quick read of his idea. In the work, We Live, We Die, I felt the present image was an interesting picture of people tending rice fields, but his use of the past image felt too iconic and familiar to have strong effects. I did like Point of View, for its obscured image of a rice farm with simple patterned fruit like shapes, but even this image felt a bit clumsily applied.

Sometimes I see a show again, and I find that I am dead wrong about my first impressions, so show, but I’ve got a feeling I will once again find myself lingering long, and feeling the amazing presence radiating from Huckaby’s pieces. for more images.

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