Then the Darkness Fell
February 16, 2012–March 17, 2012
In his series of new charcoal drawings, Then the Darkness Fell, artist Scott Hunt continues to explore his vision of a dystopian America. Hunt skillfully exploits the mysterious and obscuring nature of nighttime to create images that are enigmatic, humorous, and oddly beautiful. With characteristic sardonic wit and a flair for the dramatic, Hunt gives us modern-day allegories that examine themes and issues such as urban sprawl, the racism of the political right, the primordial fear of the dark, the dissolution of the middle class, and the aftermath of personal loss.
Loss is a leitmotif that runs through much of the work in this collection. The eponymously titled drawing, for example, is a lamentation on the death of Hunt’s brother from pancreatic cancer in 2008. The work, mimicking the triptych form of an altarpiece, is an elegiac meditation on the limits of faith, the repercussions of familial tragedy, and the meaning of an individual human life.
Like his previous bodies of work, Hunt began this series by collecting discarded snapshots from flea markets and the Internet. “My interest in the casual snapshot,” says Hunt, “is its link to a history or memory I can’t access. The inaccessible nature of these histories has led me to a preoccupation with inventing new narratives for the subjects in the photos.” After culling a selection from hundreds of snapshots, Hunt identifies elements that are intriguing in each photograph—a curious figure, a bit of architecture, a moody landscape—and then removes them from their original context. He recombines those elements until he has created an entirely new mise-en-scène with a reinvented narrative.
These new narratives often reflect a dark, mysterious, and somewhat Gothic view of America: suburbs leach danger; authority figures evince moral turpitude; nature threatens; and the surface appearance of things belies the more messy and complicated realities of being human. Hunt’s wry sense of humor leavens throughout without removing the sting.
Hunt’s work has a postmodern sensibility while still keeping a strong link to the oeuvre of American Realism that can be traced back at least as far as to Copley’s “Watson and the Shark.” He draws inspiration from artists of many disciplines, including Walker Evans, Edward Hopper, William Faulkner, Jean Cocteau, Henry Fuseli, Charles Addams, Paul Cadmus, Joyce Carol Oates, O. Winston Link, George Tooker, Weegee, and the cinematographers of American film noir.
This is Scott Hunt’s fifth solo exhibition, his third in New York and the first with Schroeder Romero & Shredder. His work has been exhibited both in America and Europe. He is a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow and a recipient of a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. His work is in the permanent collection of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.
Go to Scott Hunt's Arist Page.