Studio Visit: Gina Hunt

Photo credit: Raviv Cohen, courtesy of Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar

Gina Hunt's work can be seen in PLEAT's February 2017 exhibition as well as gina-hunt.com.

Please describe your work.
I make paintings, sculptures, and temporary, site-specific installations that live outdoors. 

At its foundation, my practice is rooted in making abstract paintings as an interdisciplinary platform to research the complexities of vision and the subjectivity of visual experience.  I am completely invested in the potential of painting as a provocative art-making strategy.

What internal and external factors motivate your conceptual choices?
I’ve been thinking about sleight of hand card tricks recently.  The performer is working with a strictly limited set of components: typically, a deck of cards, the performer’s body, and a viewer. This performance relies on manual dexterity in order to achieve the illusion.  The set of variables is known by the viewer and allows the deception to be known.  If executed successfully, the illusion will not completely break down even though each part of the whole is accessible and understandable.    

Finding expansive possibilities within a limited means fascinates me, as does the potential for a material object to incite a perceptual event that belies its inherent physical ‘facts’.  I find a kinship between how my paintings act and how really good sleight-of-hand tricks are performed.  My work stems from being completely fascinated by vision and how complex it really is.

Who are your artistic influences and what have you learned from them? 
Lucio Fontana helped me realize that a painting is a very physical object, and no aspect or component of a painting is a given; every physical bit of a painting is a material choice.  Fontana cut his canvases in the most elegant of ways and showed us that paintings can depict space with actual space, not just implied illusive space.  When I realized this, through studying Fontana’s paintings, everything opened up for me.  

I have a love affair with artists who work directly with light, color, and perception, and two of my heroes in this regard are James Turrell and Carlos Cruz-Diez.  These two artists in particular have helped me learn how we see.  I have learned a lot about the physiology of vision and the complexity of vision because of these two artists.

Painters who have dealt with the physicality of painting in really direct ways have also been monumental influences, including Lynda Benglis, Sam Gilliam, and Jack Whitten. Each of those three artists are also huge role models for demonstrating the political and subversive potentials of abstraction.

What else inspires you and keeps you going back to the studio?
I love painting and I can’t stay still for very long anyways.