Will Hutnick

Eternal Sunshine
April 8, 2023   -   June 18, 2023

The phrase “eternal sunshine” is a direct nod to the 2004 film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” directed by Michel Gondry and written by Charlie Kaufman. (And the title of the film is a quotation from the 1717 poem Eloisa to Abelard by Alexander Pope. The Russian-nesting-doll reference-within-a-reference is very appropriate for my work, too). The film is centered around the complex romantic relationship between two characters (played by Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet), made even more complex by the fact that through a science-fiction-like medical process, one of the characters has removed all memories and knowledge of the other. In response, Jim Carrey’s character undergoes the same procedure… until he realizes (midway during the process) just how valuable, cherished, and defining those memories actually are. Through a nonlinear narrative filled with dream-like sequences, the characters embark upon a mental race against the clock to hold onto those memories, and to each other.

In my own work, I am thinking a lot about the transience of memory, the passage of time, fleeting images, vibration and potentiality, and ultimately trying to hold onto the present as much as possible. (I’m sure some of these concerns have been compounded in the last year with the arrival of my son Otis in March of 2022). As a way to process these queries, I implore various DIY printmaking processes: rubbings, stencils, monoprinting. The ghostly outlines of plants and flowers, as well as the traces of objects from rubbings, along with my maximal use of repetition, hand-drawn lines, and heavy patterning, help to create a timestamp of my immediate present. Furthermore, by creating multiple images/traces of the same form, it becomes visually apparent how much of that original information gets lost, clouded and/or obscured. Although my work has alluded to topographical maps, constellations and other natural phenomena for quite some time (albeit through a very process-oriented more-is-more modality circling abstraction), recently it has become very important that the work is grounded in the “real” world. “Real” meaning both in the physical, natural, tangible sense, as well as real digital spaces that we find ourselves mediating the world through on a daily basis. I need there to be some real, representational element within my work. Plants, flowers, leaves. Circular forms manifesting as rocks, the sun, the moon. Pixels, static, tone, screens-within-screens-within-screens-within screens. Something to hold onto as everything else seems to fade away.

Will Hutnick (b. 1985, Manhasset, NY) is an artist and curator based in Wassaic, NY. He received his M.F.A. from Pratt Institute in 2011 and his B.A. from Providence College in 2007. Hutnick is a 2021 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Painting, as well as a past grant recipient from the Berkshire Taconic Foundation and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. He has had solo exhibitions at Elijah Wheat Showroom (Newburgh, NY), Standard Space (Sharon, CT), Providence College Galleries (Providence, RI), One River School (Hartsdale, NY), The Java Project (Brooklyn, NY), and St. Thomas Aquinas College (Sparkill, NY). Selected group exhibitions include: Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art (New Paltz, NY), Hollis Taggart (Southport, CT), Soft Times Gallery (San Francisco, CA), 1969 Gallery (New York, NY),  Sugarlift (New York, NY), Heaven Gallery (Chicago, IL), Collar Works (Troy, NY) and Geary Contemporary (Millerton, NY). He has been an artist-in-residence at Yaddo, Elizabeth Murray Artist Residency, Vermont Studio Center, Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences, Soaring Gardens Artists’ Retreat, DNA Artist Residency, and the Wassaic Project. Hutnick has curated numerous exhibitions at SPRING/BREAK Art Show, Ortega y Gasset Projects, Trestle Projects, Pratt Institute, Wassaic Project, Troutbeck and Standard Space, among others. From 2015-20, Hutnick was one of the Co-Directors of Ortega y Gasset Projects, an artist-run curatorial collective and exhibition space in Brooklyn. He is currently the Director of Artistic Programming at the Wassaic Project, a nonprofit organization that uses art and art education to foster positive social change. 

Will Hutnick: Eternal Sunshine PDF