Stone Anchor: Thomas Hutton
A listed panelled wall has been entombed in render, returned to stone, petrified for the eye that captures it through a lens. The glass panes of the latticed window gather the first light to fix an image in August 1835. Now the stairs that led Orpheus down and up before looking back can turn from charcoal to light to ink. The concrete swatch can be cast across any surface. And all the while, a medusa steals below.
Hunter / Whitfield is pleased to present Stone Anchor, a solo exhibition by Thomas Hutton. For Stone Anchor, Thomas Hutton has delved into histories and mythologies, mining the gallery’s Grade II listed space to produce a site-specific work and a set of drawings that exchange with and frame one another. By employing two distinct ways of making, two scales, and ultimately two viewing experiences, Hutton explores the temporality and materiality of image making through meditating on facets of its history. Render, paper, ink and wood all turn to stone.
The drawings, made from a matrix of miniature dots with a needle-like pen, thread a complex of cross-references that shape the space to contemplate their ontology as images. The memorialized eye of Apple’s founder Steve Jobs; Fox Talbot’s Latticed Window at Laycock Abbey – the earliest surviving photographic negative; Adolphe Appia’s charcoal rendering of his 1913 setting for Act II of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice; a swatch of cast fair-faced cement from a digital surface effects library; and an impossibly rare fossilized jellyfish – or Medusa – from 500 million years ago, excavated from grey mudstone in Utah in 2007.
The room’s original chimneypiece has been reconfigured and gathers the eye in a subtle exaggeration of its form through the varying pigment levels of its surfaces of acrylic siloxane, a type of architectural render that is used to preserve exterior walls and make interior partition walls appear like concrete. A section of the hand-carved 18th century paneled walls are also set with the ‘concrete’ surface that returns them to their semiotic foundations in the classical column whilst recalling the framed masonry of tombs and pedestals.