The Artist and His Legacy
Hulings' work defines a modernist sensibility without departing from the real—without removing all that is recognizable or deluding the audience by escaping into the wholly abstract.
The Modern Realist
Hulings undermined the distraction of class, reminding us that most people don’t move between glamorous towers or drag their knuckles. He showcased the dignity, nobility, and beauty of common people and ordinary things.
One of the Great Discoverers
Hulings insisted the contemporary world could only be fully understood by specific, personal awareness of its inhabitants. Therefore, he was relentlessly devoted to the figure and figurative work. He pursued stunning multinational backdrops replete with the day-to-day realities only visible through the lens of an international nomad.
Challenging an Audience & Status Quo
A relentless experimenter, Hulings exploited modern techniques from the conventions of impressionism and abstract art, bending them with equal ease into the service of an open-ended art of the figure that wouldn’t limit itself to conventional realist boundaries. His compositional "recipes" enabled him to play the sly subversive, literally slipping things under our noses that we might otherwise be too closed to notice.
Advancing the Craft and its Meaning
Clark Hulings assailed our bias toward the “other” by engaging culture through visceral daily reality. An enemy of distraction, he reprimanded modernism’s flight from that challenge and into the purely abstract. He instead produced a continuous documentary of a changing world at the pace of its most common inhabitants.
New Hulings discoveries every week!
“Ears” to the Ground
“Sometimes the irregular is what makes things beautiful, Mr. De Meo said.” —Jason Horowitz Traditional crafts become even more precious as industrialization becomes ever-more present. So many stories are bound-up in the skills transmitted through generations of artists and makers. A recent Jason Horowitz New York Times piece features a current photo of the “pasta […]
“The load of thatch has been left, the men and their dogs have bid each other farewell, and the donkey with the cart is led away.” As we enjoy the holidays, we thought it might be time for some beautiful Irish greenery. The shortest day of the year has just passed, and no matter if […]
“What competence I possess as an oil painter I feel I owe to the years I spent working exclusively in watercolor.”—Clark Hulings In Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1964, the NarBil Gallery featured a one-man exhibit of watercolors by Clark Hulings that included Mending Nets—Torremolinos, Spain. Hulings spent the three years prior to the exhibition traveling in […]
Apples to Apples
“It’s a masterful study in how the light hits a variety of shapes and colors, with the curves of the apples looking especially three-dimensional.” This still life is just the thing for a post-holiday moment of relaxation. Do you prefer apple or pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving…or something else entirely? In this 1988 painting, Hulings is […]
“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” —Sigmund Freud Just Because You’re a Pessimist, Doesn’t Mean Things are Rosy… Author and psychoanalyst Allen Wheelis was called a pessimist, even by his wife. A noted writer with fourteen published fiction and non-fiction books, as well as pieces for […]
Auction Alert: Old Lady in Black – Valencia
“The old lady in black was still there, and I showed her a reproduction of the painting. Big mistake! We spent the next hour going from stall to stall to exhibit her new-found fame.” It’s been a while since we’ve featured a Hulings market scene, and today, we’re in Valencia, Spain. Many artists explore multiple […]
Santa Fe Sunlight & Piñon Smoke
“The theatrical arc light of late afternoon was shining brilliantly on that white cottonwood tree. I think that is the moment when we decided to make the move.” By the late 1960s, Clark Hulings was successfully pursuing the easel painting era of his career. 1967 was the year he won the Gold Medal from Allied […]
“Their work is ongoing, with no time to stop and visit.” Even when we’re no longer students, the beginning of September is a time when we all seem to re-focus, buckle down, and get to work. There’s so much to be done. This 1972 painting (Upper) San Miguel – Boy With A Head Load is […]
Auction Alert: Jose on Maria-Spain
“The really Spanish touch is the stunning red accent in the saddle blanket that anchors the composition, not to mention showing-off the proficiency of the local textile-makers. “ Is there anything more classic than a Hulings donkey—or in this case, because we’re in Spain, a burro? This 14 x 16″ piece was created in 1982, […]
Auction Alert: Puerto Vallarta
“Night of the Iguana was filmed in Puerto Vallarta in 1963, marking the beginning of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s love affair.” Puerto Vallarta is a spectacular Hulings landscape painted in 1976. Mention of this Mexican beach resort community reminded a few of us of 1970s Love Boat episodes that frequently docked there. Elizabeth has fond […]
“In my mind there seemed to be a kinship between makers of Russian theatrical masks and makers of Hopi Kachina dolls.” One hallmark of Hulings’ compositions is the seamless weaving together of elements from different places and times—culled from his photographic archives, plein air sketches, and other source material. Even smaller works usually derive from […]
“She is either stuck or plotting a spectacular descent, or a bit of both…” Cats are quirky at the best of times, and kittens are non-stop action and exploration, as this study shows. Hulings painted Three Kittens and a Grapevine in 1985, so the source material is most likely from his three-week trip to Northern […]
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