colorful geometric painting by Andrew Huffman

Paint Studio Demo Artist Andrew Huffman

Andrew Huffman will be in the Paint Studio demonstrating modulated: hard-line abstraction noon–3 pm on January 18-19, 2020. The Paint Studio is included with general admission, which is free for members and youth 18 and under.

Andrew Huffman has exhibited primarily in United States galleries in Ohio, Kansas, New Mexico, New York, and Colorado. In the U.S. his works currently are in the homes of friends and collectors in New York City; Los Angeles; Columbus; Albuquerque; Kansas City (MO), Denver, and beyond. On the international side, he has had exhibited twice in Berlin, Germany, at the Neurotitan Gallery (2014) and Sluice Exchange Berlin 2018 at the Kuhlhaus, and also completed a mural in Old Dali City, in Yunnan, China (2009). Huffman currently finished a two-year artist and residence program at Redline Contemporary Art Center in Denver, Colorado, and also completed the FBAIR (Facebook Artist in Residence) in November of 2018. He also had a solo exhibition with the David Richard Gallery in 2018 in Santa Fe, New Mexico that is now based in NYC.

colorful geometric painting by Andrew Huffman
Andrew Huffman, Modulated 30, 2019. Acrylic on canvas stretched over panel; 30 x 30 in. A detail of this artwork is at the top. Courtesy and © Andrew Huffman. 

Lindsey Bell: What will your demo at the DAM look like? What can visitors expect?

Andrew Huffman: I will be working on a new painting starting from a blank white canvas. You can expect me to draw out the skeleton of the painting, mix paint in mason jars, and tape, burnish, and clear coat before I apply any paint. Most of the first session will be burnt up drawing, mixing paint, and clear coating.... not sure if I will even have time to apply paint the first day particularly if many people approach and talk with me. After these first steps are completed, I will be painting, clear-coating, burnishing, and repeating this process.

LB: I noticed that you paint with a lot of attention to detail and precision. Can you explain your process?

AH: I think above hits on some of my physical process a bit. To dive a little further, I used to paint very loose abstract and non-objective paintings when I was younger, while also pursuing abstracted landscape, model painting, and precise drawing from life, and representational art before and during my time at the Columbus College of Art and Design. It was during this time too, where my work started taking bigger and bigger leaps into abstraction involving color and more complex geometric designs married with precise printmaking processes and collage.

I was influenced a great deal from intaglio printmaking that then evolved my younger eye for detail and precise nuances in color, form, pattern, design, and content. As my process developed after attaining my BFA before graduate school, I moved to Yosemite, California and then spent time in China. After my time in western China, I created a whole body of work for a solo show in 2009 as an artist in residence Columbus, Ohio, at Chop Chop Gallery. The body of worked focused on my trip to China in the form of oil paintings with a great emphasis on color, form, space, and design.

As my paintings and processes got more and more distilled, I then stopped using oil paint because my paintings were becoming so mathematical I no longer wanted to wait for the paint to dry and I knew I had to figure out a faster method to painting these paintings so precisely. Before this time, I had never used tape for anything. This started a whole new body of paintings that distilled my old process and went in the new direction I wanted to go into, which was no collage, no type, no real representational anything. I wanted the color and nuances of the paintings to explore the atmospheric space of plein air landscape painting while at the same time directly making the subject matter color, form, pattern, direction, tonality, and visual rhythm. I was trying to get at the essence of what a painting was in its simplest elements.

LB: Abstract paintings often offer many different interactions, outcomes, and interpretations from the perspective of the viewer. Is there anything in particular you want people to see or feel when viewing your paintings?

AH: I definitely want people to feel something with their heart-mind-and-eyeballs, but I do not, however, wish to impose or dictate how the painting is supposed to be understood by them in signified terms. I welcome viewers to celebrate the enigma of the work and rejoice in the possibility of the meaning or meanings changing through time and their own cognition. If you place a painting in a new environment, for instance, the new viewing atmosphere can even elicit a whole new trove of content and meanings.

LB: Are there movements or other artists that inspire or influence your work?

AH: First, my immediate family and friends influenced me the most artistically. I am the last of five kids and four of us went to art school in pursuit of honing our artistic endeavors. I enjoy most of the artists from the Bauhaus movement, such as Josef and Anni Albers, Paul Klee, Mondrian, Kandinsky. I think for the time, their use of color and philosophy was innovative and they were reacting strongly against purely representational art, too. I enjoy the Russian Constructivist paintings, too, for the same raw geometric nature that responded against the pressure of representational art.

From undergraduate school, Neil Riley, Gordon Lee, and Chris Daniggelis, all truly were solid and pivotal mentors for me in the maturing of my work and I respected their art practices. Gordon Lee introduced me to Shusaku Arakawa and the book, The Mechanism of Meaning, and I always loved his work a lot and the playful nature of it. One of my best friends and mentors is Craig Dransfield, who had a profound effect on my art. I also appreciate contemporary artists such as Barry McGee and the Beautiful Losers crew—Margaret Kilgallen, Ed Templeton, and Chris Johanson. There are too many good artists to list, but most of my inspirations do not usually, if ever, come from looking at art.

LB: What do you have coming up next? Where can visitors see more of your work?

AH: I have a my second solo show with the David Richard Gallery coming up in New York City this May, and will be showing locally mid-January at Union Hall in a Group Show. Also, I recently completed a couple of paintings commissioned by Mark Falcone that will be on display at a new development over by 9th and Colorado Blvd, along with two massive structure-flex installations of the paintings that will cover the outside of the buildings in addition to the actual paintings inside the development.

Lindsey Bell is a studio and artist programs intern in the department of learning and engagement at the Denver Art Museum.

Read more on: Colorado artists studio