Peter Hutton “Figures, Landscapes & Time” at La Loge, Brussels
The collection of seven films presented in the exhibition at La Loge represents over three decades of work by American independent filmmaker Peter Hutton. The exhibition features a number of early works including Boston Fire (1979) and Landscape (for Manon) (1986-87) and traces the artist’s oeuvre through to the present. The main highlight of the exhibition is the debut of Hutton’s latest films, Three Landscapes (2013) and At Sea ( 2004-2007) in the form of an installation.
Throughout his career, Hutton has used film to capture subtle moments in time in a way that reflects a powerful, contemplative method of viewing the world. In each of his films, he positions himself as a witness; he uses the camera to make a record of chosen landscapes filmed from a distance. Therefore, a tangible line can be felt in his films, separating the filmmaker from the reality that he is filming. His entire body of work results from patient observation as opposed to constructing a manipulated or staged reality.
Before becoming a filmmaker, Hutton spent a decade living and working on large merchant ships. He paid his way through art school with the money he earned at sea. The experience of witnessing the world by boat undeniably forged the artist’s sense of looking as a means of experiencing time and reality with a more intense focus on the subtleties of vision. The artist explains that, “there’s a kind of culture of survival when you’re out at sea, where you have to develop a kind of visual acuity to know where you are going and what’s happening.” Another defining aspect of Hutton’s work is his early artistic career as a painter. Though the artist abandoned painting for film in the mid-1970s, his films convey a visual connection to the methodologies of painting. As Hutton describes, film is “about painting with the language of cinema.”
Born in Detroit and a current resident of the Hudson River Valley, Hutton’s personal connection to specific places is evident in his work. His long appreciation for the beauty of the Hudson River Valley is expressed in a number of his films including Landscape (for Manon), Study for a River and Three Landscapes. His cinematic treatment of this area has been linked to the mid-19th century painting of the Hudson River School, an American art movement known for romantic depictions of the natural landscape surrounding the Hudson River.
Often using his daily environment as inspiration, Hutton believes in the adage that truth is stranger than fiction.Hutton’s oeuvre consists of a rich collection of over twenty films that portray a sense of meditative timelessness. The seamless movement of man and nature appear as continuous forces untouched by time.
until 1 February 2014
Above – At Sea, 2004-2007
At Sea, 2004-2007
Study of a River, 1997
Three Landscapes, 2013
Three Landscapes (Detroit), 2013
Three Landscapes (Ethiopia), 2013
Peter Hutton, “Figures, Landscapes & Time” at La Loge, Brussels, 2013
Courtesy: the artist; La Loge, Brussels.