SHARON — Classical music, like fine art, is a deeply personal and intimate arrangement of ideas, which, once expressed, take on a life of their own in the imaginations of their audience. Contemporary artist and sometime concert cellist Will Hutnick, whose latest exhibition, “Applause Between Movements,” opens on July 5 at Standard Space Gallery in Sharon, knows this as well as anyone.
“Applause Between Movements” is comprised of abstract works on paper and collaged paintings that pair rubbings of familiar yet elusive objects with bold, brightly colored patterns. Hutnick’s approach to abstraction and navigation of space in his work is an informal, organic one — but is ultimately aimed at connecting at a deeper level with the audience.
“Abstract work can often be reduced to a lot of formal considerations,” Hutnick says. “Elements like the rubbings take it a step back toward recognizability.”
Hutnick’s arrangement of “patterns and passages” creates a sense of dynamism and movement. Elements butt against one another like puzzle pieces — positive and negative, here or there, behind or in front. The slippage this evokes, and confusion it can create, is central to his message about self and identity. And the vibrancy of the patterns and those underlying tensions reflect the artist’s internal struggle for acceptance as a queer artist and as a human being.
“In my art, there aren’t a lot of systems that are sound,” Hutnick says. “But having an x or y axis gives both me and my work a place to exist.”
Hutnick, who runs the residency program at the Wassaic Project, mostly works on the floor of his studio, which is covered in a color-flecked foam padding that both conjures his art and informs it. As Hutnick explains, his immediate surroundings have always provided rich context for his work. More and more, since he moved to Wassaic, N.Y. in 2015, people have been seeing traces of the local landscape in his pieces. And at Standard Space, this dynamic, multitalented young artist, an important figure in the area’s burgeoning contemporary art scene, is a natural fit, and he’s excited to work with another of the area’s important contemporary art touchstones.
“Applause Between Movements” runs from Friday, July 5 to Sunday, July 28 at Standard Space Gallery, 147 Main St., Sharon, with a reception on Saturday, July 6 from 5:30 to 8p.m., and with a cookout to follow.
Standard Space looks to showcase artists from the city and “upstate,” as well as to help the area develop as a cultural and artistic destination, where working artists can come to gain perspective on their pursuits, take inspiration from the creative community and the picturesque surroundings, and create and show new work in a welcoming and energizing environment. Visit www.standardspace.net for more information.