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Fiercely Curious is an online art & design collective based in Brooklyn.

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Will Hutnick's Wassaic & Vermont Residencies

Fiercely Curious artist Will Hutnick's tenacious energy has thrust him into a Curator in Residence position at Trestle Projects, Brooklyn and we are just so amazed at how Will also manages to fit in time for some amazing residency programs. Artists accepted into these programs are totally immersed in another world (perhaps even a barn on a farm with an emu) to focus completely on their art.

We asked Will to contribute a guest blog post to give us all a first hand account of his time at two wonderful residency programs in upstate New York and Vermont.

Will Hutnick in his studio - photo credit: Jeff Barnett-Winsby

This past August I completed a month-long residency at The Wassaic Project in Wassaic, NY.  My experience was complete by having a great studio in an old barn, access to a print shop (where I was able to create screen prints, something I haven’t done since my time at Pratt), an emu named Mother, jumping off a waterfall, Saturday night karaoke, and endless rounds of dominoes.  Here is some work that I created while at Wassaic.

Still Life, On The Radio, Corn Rigs Plus Barley: Volume I

One of the last projects that I worked on while at Wassaic was transforming my entire studio into a collage/painting-installation (Wassaic Scales: Part 1).  I had been working on the painting on paper in the center of the wall for a week or two – I was thinking about puzzles, board games from my childhood, Russian-nesting dolls, to attempt to foster an in-between “other” space – yet the work was becoming too forced, too rehearsed.  It wasn’t until that work was placed on the wall (I usually work on the floor) and became surrounded by other objects – pieces of painted tape discarded from previous works on paper, screen print remnants, other forms of studio detritus – that the work began to vibrate and activate the entire wall and space.  The painting decided that it didn’t need or want to be a singular entity but rather was part of something larger than itself.

Wassaic Scales REMIX, Wassaic Scales 1 and detail

Wassaic Scales REMIX is a collection of all the pieces of painted tape that compose Wassaic Scales: Part 1 & 2.  The work is a catalog, a remnant, a documentation of a past work that became a work in and of itself.  I like the idea of my work having multiple lives and iterations; that they can transform into something else and constantly evolve. There is a functional aspect to this work that I find appealing and effortless.

A month later, I found myself in Johnson, VT to attend a four-week residency at Vermont Studio Center.  I lucked out with some great fall weather and was swimming and hiking as soon as I got there.  My studio was gorgeous and filled with great light, the atmosphere at VSC was very supportive and friendly, and the entire town made it out to karaoke each week.  Also there were 2 shops just devoted to maple candies.  Another month of “singing” TLC and OMC’s “How Bizarre” began.

Whoooosh, Dinosaur(s) Playing Football, Islands

I had an idea that I wanted to create some sort of painting-environment(s) and wanted to continue to blur the line between studio and work.  I was thinking more and more about that “distinction”, if there needed to be one or if that was important at all.  I brought along with me to VSC plenty of works in progress as well as my collection of painting scraps, torn paper and forms that I’ve accumulated over the past few years.  At first I wanted to incorporate some of the old pieces and shapes into new collages and new works; but once I started categorizing them on the floor – according to size, shape and intended “function”: weapons, rainbows, arches, bridges, life-preservers, lines, blobs, little critters, triangles, planets, etc. – I realized that their configuration was charged with such an energy that they didn’t need to be anything else; they could just be.  I was reading a novel by David Mitchell at the time and was submersed in that world, so I’m sure the fantasy-driven passages in that novel found their way into my studio and into the installation.

Number Nine Dream and details

Mother Wall REMIX, just like the work in Wassaic, was created to physically save and transport all of the pieces of tape found in my studio.  Another thing of a thing of a thing.

Mother Wall REMIX

While I was working in the studio, I also began to create an installation outside of my studio in the hallway.  Framing a friend’s studio were two tight corners that faced one another, that were only present so that the studios could have extra wall space inside.  They were kind of ridiculous and I kept thinking about them and their potential energy.  I liked that they had their own logic to them and served a secondary, tangential (studio) purpose but were actually just wasted space.  I wanted to address these spaces and open them up and create another dimension of sorts, or rather expose another dimension, a space that exists beyond the architecture and beyond the walls.

Queen Of Spades and detail
Suffice to say, I had a great and productive time at both The Wassaic Project and Vermont Studio Center, and want to thank everyone involved for making my experiences unforgettable.

Thanks Will! To see all of Will's work available on Fiercely Curious click here.

Co-founder and creative spirit for Fiercely Curious

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