Hunt Slonem to Shimmer and Surprise and Russell Gallery

by Nick Bailey on February 29, 2016 in Entertainment, Art, Austin,

Internationally recognized artist, Hunt Slonem, will have an eponymous exhibition on view at the Russell Collection and it’s likely to be approximately as subtle as the sheen of Indian gemstones. In fact, the artist can be described in countless ways, but “minimalist” is not one of them.

Hutch by Hunt Sloanem
Hutch by Hunt Sloanem

Slonem, will have an eponymous exhibition on view at the Russell Collection from March 1 – 31, so if you’re in the Austin area, this is an exhibit you don’t want to miss. To make the experience even better, Slonem will meet guests at the gallery on Saturday, March 5, from 6 – 9 p.m. The event is open to the public and an RSVP is requested, so plan ahead. Anyone who has seen his work knows he’s constantly evolving, and his show, aptly named “Hunt Slonem,” is likely to be a magnum opus for the gallery as they transition into the next season — and after Ash Almonte’s solo show, that’s saying a lot.

Slonem is fond of describing his work as “exotica” and the term is apt; it features, among other things, “bunnies, birds and butterflies.” The artist claims he was first inclined to paint rabbits when he was dining in a Chinese restaurant and discovered via a fortune cookie that he “was born under the sign of the rabbit, 1951.” The aforementioned sign must also signal vast success because Slonem has been a prominent — not to mention lucrative — fixture on the world’s art scene for four decades and his Austin show looks to build on his already enviable reputation.

Aqua Diamond by Hunt Sloanem
Aqua Diamond by Hunt Sloanem

While Slonem’s paintings exude a fascination with the smallest of creatures exhibiting lush colors, his works are often huge in scale. He claims to begin each morning with small “gestural” images of bunnies and, perhaps surprisingly, he never finds the daily act of repetition dull. Instead, he describes creating ongoing versions of images to be a kind of reverential devotion, a “mantra” of sorts. Thus, his work is infused with a prayerful attitude that resonates with patrons of every age and background. Plus, to say he was precocious is an understatement. He knew he would become a painter “at age two.”

While Slonem’s work can hold its own in any venue, the man himself is equally intriguing. In his personal like, Slonem is an avid collector of gothic furniture, top hats, harps and more. These items fuel his creativity and he uses them to furnish both his Brooklyn studio and three expansive homes. Two are legendary sprawling mansions in Louisiana requiring lavish renovation, while yet another residence is located in upstate New York. According to lore, the former palatial dwellings come with ghostly occupants with whom Slonem communicates via clairvoyants. Put simply, he’s a fascinating character with an eye for anything outré.