January 9 – April 15, 2018
3 Friends explores the work of contemporary artists Robert Hudson, Jack Stuppin and Richard Shaw, three artists who have worked for decades in California’s North Coast region. Colleagues, friends and sometime conspirators, the three artists have had influential careers shaping three distinct media- Steel, Canvas and Clay. Although Hudson and Shaw have been exhibited together and Stuppin has been included in shows with one or the other from time to time, this marks the first time all three friends have been shown together in a combined museum exhibition.
There is clearly a Northern California sensibility that informs the work of all three artists. An irreverent yet whimsical sense of the world, represented in varying combinations of composition, color, and subject, distinguish these artists.
Hudson has been called an archetypical Bay-Area artist; he achieved early status as a primary force in the West Coast assemblage movement and has been widely recognized for his polychrome sculpture, the work featured in this exhibition. In these works, Hudson juxtaposes fabricated and found objects, injecting his playful mixed media sculptures with his inventiveness and wit.
Richard Shaw, through his career since the sixties, has explored the potential and examined the limitations of clay. A master craftsman, his techniques are admired for his ability to render everyday objects with astonishing accuracy and believability. He utilizes cast porcelain, uses hand built and thrown processes, and has adapted the use of decals. Although the term trompe l’oeil has primarily been used to describe hyper-realistic two dimensional painting that creates the illusion of reality, it is a most appropriate term to describe Shaw’s three-dimensional ceramic sculptures, works that surprise and amaze.
Jack Stuppin paints with a unique vision. He is inspired by the beauty of the natural landscape, but moved to interpret it with saturated colors and a heavily stylized technique that transforms his scenes into playful, almost childlike compositions. Stuppin is a dedicated plein air artist and his paintings are initially spontaneous studies created on location. In the studio, however, they are transformed to bold, vibrant canvases that seem to practically jump off the wall.
There is a distinct vibrancy to the colors, compositions and patterns that play off one another when the work of these three artists is seen together. It is our hope that viewers of these works will, for a short time, be moved to forget the challenges and issues we face in the real world daily and allow themselves to be transported into the alternate universe of these three friends and their unique visions.