Skowhegan Studio II

Christina Hutchings

Bermudian, b. 1953

Oil on Masonite

1977

Collection of the artist

Hutchings completed a Visual Arts Fellowship at the renowned Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1977. There, she met Dutch artist and sculptor César Domela (1900-1992), who had been a key figure in the geometric abstraction movement in Europe in the 1920s alongside Piet Mondrian. Domela was a visiting artist at the residency, and she remembers lecture he gave in which he said he “could speak only to people who worked in an abstract manner.” Hutchings explains, “At the time I was startled by his peremptory declaration, and he did not visit my studio that summer because I was painting in a very representational way. However, in hindsight, his commitment to abstraction has been a huge help and it is something that has stayed with me.”

Hutchings continues, “Throughout my life it has been a struggle between representation – which is what I thought people wanted to see – and abstraction. I have always been more drawn to abstraction.” Referring to her early works, Walled Garden at Yellow House (1976) and Skowhegan Studio (1977), she adds, “I went back and forth between abstraction and representation for a long time. Those two works, and the Umbrian Landscapes (1983), are a combination of the two impulses. Years later after my time at Skowhegan, I would love the opportunity to speak with Domela about his abstract paintings. I now understand exactly what he meant.”

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