Robert Hudson burst onto the scene with the appearance of his signature polychrome, welded steel sculptures at San Francisco’s storied Batman Gallery in 1961. The driving force behind his work since then has been the exploration of form, void, and illusion in assembled and painted sculptural forms. From 1968-71, however, Hudson explored a more concept-laden methodology, creating a unique body of work within his oeuvre.
Known at the time for the multi-colored, painted surfaces of his sculptures, in this period Hudson employed color to a lesser degree. Instead, Hudson let the materials of his assembled found object sculptures take greater prominence, yielding a more intellectual approach. Word play was also a key element to this body of work. For example, with Still Works, Hudson strapped his working welder to a rolling glass platform with the names of his earlier sculptures etched into its surface. Here, the title of the work referred to the welder’s usability, while also negating that meaning through its transformation into an art object. Elsewhere, we see Hudson exploring new materials, such as in Fall, where the underlying forms have been covered in a skin of vinyl; Color Cart, where the central element is a large, multi-colored mound of plasticine clay; and Stacked Deck, with its inclusion of cut industrial neoprene elements. Not seen publicly in the Bay Area since his 1985 retrospective at SFMOMA, these important works are offered a fresh re-assessment in this exhibition.
Robert Hudson grew up in Richland, Washington, and received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1963.
On view will be nine historic sculptures created by legendary Bay Area artist Robert Hudson during his “minimal” period in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Visually austere and laced with humor, Hudson’s works from this period explored conceptual aesthetics through word play and the investigation of materials.
Robert Hudson: Selected Works 1968-71
Exhibition Dates: September 8 – October 27, 2018
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 8, 2018 from 4pm – 6pm
Brian Gross Fine Art
248 Utah Street
San Francisco, CA 94103