James Hugonin

by aucourantarts

The paintings carry with them that pace, that slowness, that sense of time. They ask us to slow down, and to look, and to settle as we would to listen to a piece of music, allowing time to take effect – to acknowledge that, for all their quietness and stillness, our relationship to them is one of continual change”. Michael Harrison (Director of Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge)

On Tuesday the 21st of February I attended the weekly artist talk at the Whitworth Gallery Manchester and the artist speaking was James Hugonin. I was not aware of Hugonin’s work before the talk but I was pleasantly surprised by the work he makes, as many of the artists that talk at the Whitworth usually aren’t to my taste. He began the talk by showing a 15 minute video about a painting which is part of a series he started in 1988. These paintings are made up of thousands of marks which are mathematically and systematically placed, not one mark is made without thought. It is not only the positioning of the mark but also the colour of the mark which gets taken into consideration, as some marks are used because they created a sense of depth and others because they push to the forefront of the painting. Ingleby Gallery describes Hugonin’s paintings as, “These are deeply subtle paintings with an understated clarity: quietly musical and filled with a kind of contained light that relates keenly to the place in which they are made. There is a slow and deliberate colour notation that forms an integral part of the making of each work.” Although Hugonin’s paintings are incredibly successful he has also explored other mediums within his practice, such as silk screen printing (third picture down) site specific work and the stain glass window in St John’s Chapel in Northumberland, which he was awarded the ACE Award for Art in a Religious Context. The talks at the Whitworth can sometimes seem the a chore, as attending is a part of our B.A. Fine Art degree but I throughly enjoyed this weeks, Hugonin spoke about his work with such passion and I guess this is reflected in the length it takes to create one of his ‘Untitled’ paintings, which is around two years.