Daniel Hutchinson: Half-Light Over the Baltic Sea
Christopher Young, Viewers Like You, February 25, 2012
After winning the Brucebo Summer Residency award last year, Daniel Hutchinson had the opportunity to travel to Sweden and stay in a remote cabin on the island of Gotland. Hutchinson spent the next three months, "surrounded by ocean, rainbows, and rolling storms," allowing him to absorb all the natural wonder of the Baltic Sea. This influence is clearly felt in his latest collection, Half-Light Over the Baltic Sea, on display now at Angell Gallery. The result is a body of work that is as mesmerizing in its approach as it is in subject matter. Sweden in summer experiences exceptionally long daylight hours, and Daniel spoke about wanting to capture images that occur during those brief moments between sunlight which never become fully dark. "It's sort of a half-light period, a time of transition where the forms become really accentuated because the colour spectrum is narrowed."
Certainly the collection is in keeping with this muted and compressed colour palette, but what is truly amazing is the texture and finish of each piece. While it is difficult to tell from the included photos in this post, the luminescent highlights of the work are not technically rendered in any of the paintings. What you're seeing is simply the way the light catches the paint, allowing it to shine like waves in moonlight. It's a technique the artist achieved by mixing hidden colour, underpainting, and glazing. This allows for an impression of meticulous depth, and an almost metallic sheen that really must be viewed in person to fully appreciate.
Hutchinson's style extends beyond just a practical effect, and he explains how his materials were integral to the theme of his work, "I'm representing waves and water, but I'm also hoping to foreground the materiality of paint equally. Paint being a medium that catches light, it has a lustre, it has a texture, and it is also very organic, it's full of chance. It is an analogue to water in some ways." The collection will be exhibited until March 24th and I urge you to go see it for yourself.