Friday, 27 September 2019

Luchita Hurtado

Last weekend I headed to the Serpentine Sackler Gallery to see the work of Luchita Hurtado, a Venezuela-born artist who has created an extensive collection of paintings, drawings and prints. At the age of 99, this is her first solo exhibition in a public institution. She travelled extensively in Mexico before settling in California in 1951, where she has been ever since and the exhibition covers her 80 year career as an artist.

During the late 1930s to the 1950s, Hurtado experimented with form, material and subject matter and this was my favourite section where her combination of bold form and vibrant colour create strength and drama.

During the 1960s, Hurtado played with abstraction and figuration where expressive compositions use layered translucent paints and multiple techniques. 

She also did a series of self-portraits which are dotted around the exhibition. In some, her face is captured in the mirror, in others her body is seen from above.

I was interested by this selection of paintings that are seemingly abstract but it turns out that they are a series of works that have been cut into strips and stitched back together again. The expressive lines and shapes are fragmented lettering which become abstract once reconfigured.

These works were exhibited in a beautifully restored section of the gallery that combines the original brickwork with sympathetically painted beams and fresh white walls.

This inspiring exhibition is on until 20th October.

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