“When people note that Hulings is a ‘realist,’ it’s interesting to consider these abstract moments and think about when—and why—he left these definitions behind.”
Coloring Outside the Lines
Chrysanthemums from 1977 is the earlier work of these two, and at 20 x 24″ is the larger as well. The fold in the tablecloth, as well as the placement of the produce, create triangles that pull to the bottom center of the frame. The backdrop and tablecloth have wild, abstract use of color, particularly in the top left hand corner, where you’ll see blue, tan, pink, brown, and teal all having a big party so not to be outdone by the flowers—not to mention the grapes, lemon, apple and onions. When people note that Hulings is a “realist,” it’s interesting to consider these abstract moments and think about when—and why—he left these definitions behind.
Flora & Fungi
Still Life with Mushrooms is from 1984, 11.5 x 11.5″, and a more intimate still life. One of the intriguing things about this piece is the flare of the shiny copper pot meeting the red of the tomato; they almost clash, and we know from Hulings’ command of color and values that he meant to do it. One explanation for why he did it—apart from the pure fun of the boisterous colors—is to cause us to seek out the calm, matte texture of the mushrooms as a visual rest. He’s always rooting for the underdog, and he’s always developing as much movement in the composition as possible, even in a still life.