SCOTT SPEH GALLERY
845 W Washington Blvd
Chicago, IL 60607
westernexhibitions dot com
11am to 6pm
editions and more
Biography by Courtenay E. Smith, from "Art in
Chicago 1945 - 1995"
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Hull's two-dimensional paintings are clearly influenced by
the three-dimensionality of architecture. Calling to mind the bleakly
surreal, metaphysical "landscapes" of Giorgio De Chirico,
Hull's work combines personal narrative with formal abstract painting.
Since the later 1970s, Hull's richly surfaced oil and wax paintings
have depicted abstracted architectural interiors where towers, gabled
roods, and arched doorways combine with geometric solids and intersecting
planes to form a framework in which various figurative elements are
situated. Color plays a significant role in creating this surreal
environment. Hull tends towards deep rich hues, achieved by coating
the canvas with melted beeswax before paintings. By contrasting hot
and cool colors, Hull skews perspective, creating a mysterious space
in which to cast his characters. The overall effect is that of a theater
set, but one in which a Lewis Carrol tale might be enacted.
However, the "players" in Hull's dramas are conspicuously
absent, noticeable only by their reside. In many cases a lurking shadow
offers the suggestion of a figure who, presumably, is just outside
the picture frame. Sometimes wrapped, mummy-like forms stand in for
human actors but never reveal their true identity. Occasionally, disembodied
hands, suspended in mid-air, point in conflicting directions, independent
of human will Even Hull's trademark mask faces are strangely decapitated.
The quality of estrangement lends psychological depth to the paintings'
At the same time, Hull's obvious concern for surface - composition,
pattern, and color relationships - derives form modern formalist painting.
This is apparent in his more recent canvases, which have lost some
of their spatial density due to his continuing fascination with pattern
and line. His paintings from the 1990s are filled with lyrical, scroll0like
patterns, reminiscent of chandeliers or Art Nouveau iron grillwork
popular at the turn of the century.
Born in Oklahoma City, Hull received his BFA from the Kansas City
Art Institute in 1977, and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute
of Chicago in 1979. Shortly before graduating from SAIC, he attracted
the attention of dealer Phyllis Kind, who began exhibiting his paintings
in both her Chicago and New York galleries. At Kind's gallery, Hull
joined the company of well-known Imagists such as Roger Brown, Jim
Nutt, Gladys Nilsson, and Ed Paschke. Besides a number of one-person
shows at Phyllis Kind Gallery, Hull's work has been exhibited across
the United States. His paintings may be found in many private and
public collection, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Milwaukee
Art Museum; the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City; and the San Antonio
Museum of Art, Texas.
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