Stephen F. Austin State University

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Expressive oil paintings featured in Huckaby exhibition

July 17, 2014 - Robbie Goodrich
"Sedrick Huckaby: Quiet Dialogues" features expressive oil paintings with heavy applications of impasto depicting members of the artist's African-American family. The exhibition, which includes this self-portrait, runs July 25 through Sept. 5 in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - An exhibition that runs July 25 through Sept. 5 at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House will feature the work of Texas artist Sedrick Huckaby.

"Sedrick Huckaby: Quiet Dialogues" features expressive oil paintings with heavy applications of impasto depicting members of his African-American family, according to John Handley, director of art galleries for Stephen F. Austin State University's School of Art. The exhibition will also present a selection of prints and drawings from his recently completed "99 percent" suite.

Handley first saw Huckaby's work last year when he visited Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden in Dallas, which is the lender of this exhibition.

"As is so often the case for me, I was immediately drawn to the expressive nature of his work without knowing anything about the artist," Handley said. "His imagery just popped off the canvas and confronted me. 'Who are the people in these pictures?' I wondered.

"His work reminded me of the California figurative painters of the 1960s - highly expressive, bold brush strokes and a lot of paint," he said. "To build up paint like that, often working wet on wet, is truly a skill. Huckaby has mastered this technique, creating at times works that are as sculptural as they are pictorial."

In his paintings, Huckaby's focus is his family, Handley explained. The "99 Percent" suite includes small portraits of people both known and unknown to the artist.

Phillip Collins, who wrote an essay for the 2008 exhibition catalog on Huckaby, states, "The canvases are full of energy." According to Huckaby, "the compositions are not informed by any noted artist of history in particular; they evolved naturally from my formal training and the process of painting."

"Huckaby's work is anchored in his life and reflects a deep commitment to his principles and his belief in the future of his community," said Cheryl Vogel, curator for Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden. "At the core of his paintings in this exhibition is a long standing investigation about family, faith and heritage."

Huckaby was born in Forth Worth in 1975. He earned a B.F.A. from Boston University in 1997 and an M.F.A. from Yale University in 1999. He is an assistant professor of painting at the University of Texas at Arlington.

A closing reception with the artist in attendance is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5, at Cole Art Center, which is located at 329 E. Main St. in downtown Nacogdoches. For additional information, call (936) 468-1131.