The exhibition features a variety of Hudson’s work, including sculptures, ceramic pieces and drawings. As one of the progenitors of the West Coast assemblage movement, Hudson is well known for his use of disparate everyday objects including everything from an ornate heating grate to a broken enameled sink. The work can appear to be an unruly mix of elements at first glance but soon reveals itself to be a carefully ordered interlacing of textures, color and geometric forms.
Robert Hudson has an exhibition history that spans more than 50 years. A long-time Bay Area resident, he was an integral part of the San Francisco Funk Art movement in the 1960s and is a contemporary and longtime friend of Richard Shaw and William T. Wiley. Hudson currently resides in Cotati, where he continues to create works in his studio. Even his older works are continually evolving, as he often goes back and changes or adds new elements to the original sculpture.
Hudson has a deep understanding of his materials, and he combines discarded artifacts to create visual harmonies that make unexpected visual sense. We can see the shapes playing off each other in his sculptures, as in his piece Crosscut, where the line of triangular saw blade juts out in stark contrast to the smooth curves of spirals, rods, and spheres surrounding the base. He also engages the viewer in a bit of sleight of hand, as materials are not always what they seem to be. His piece, Blue Rope Jar, fools the eye by including a rope actually made of porcelain instead of fibres.
Despite the fact that some of the materials he uses are heavy or industrial, the resulting sculptures have a lightness that is expressed both in tone and composition. Hudson’s work has a signature wit that infiltrates all the media he works with, and leaves the viewer with a smile.
Hudson’s works are included in the collections of the SF MoMa, NY MoMA, Whitney Museum, Los Angeles County Museum, Smithsonian National Gallery, deYoung Museum, DiRosa Preserve, Chicago Art Institute, The Art institute of Chicago, and the Stedelijk Museum inAmsterdam. He has taught at several California art institutions including the San Francisco Art Institute, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of California at Davis, and the California College of Arts and Crafts.
This LEGENDS OF THE BAY AREA exhibition was made possible with the assistance of the Patricia Sweetow Gallery.