Referencing a peculiar religious broadcast that the artist encountered on his family’s television as a child, Worship for Shut–Ins (Good Feeling) presents new paintings and sculptures at Guerrero Gallery by Chicago-based artist Cody Hudson.
Over the last two years, Hudson has developed a more decidedly painterly approach to his work, eschewing the earlier graphic-based paintings that employed drawing with graphite and ink over colorful surfaces on panel for succinct compositions of elemental shape and more expressive application of paint on linen. The results are bold, unique, and more directly tied to narrative and the natural world.
Expanding his recent palette of blues, yellows, and white to include pinks, red, black and gray, Hudson includes a series of smaller, more immediately object-based paintings to his newest larger landscape and mask-based works. He also presents several medium-sized square works with painted borders that mimic windowpanes festooned with foliage. The viewer is invited to look out through the painting’s surface, confronted by a delightful ambiguity as to whether the plant life exists on the interior or exterior. The artist balances these paintings with a series of new painted wood sculptures that are installed on the wall and hung from the rafters. Referencing the shapes of the sun and suspended plants, they serve to further contextualize the artist’s interest in the natural world and its forms.
All of the works continue to imply specific figures, landscapes, and objects, while remaining gleefully elemental and abstract. The results are visually mysterious and indexical, creating a poetic, charged environment for the viewer to connect in an intimate, personal way.
Artists and longtime friends Tessa Perutz and Cody Hudson excel at a variety of positions both within and outside the realm of fine art. Hudson has made a name for himself as a visual artist while simultaneously achieving widespread acclaim as an illustrator and designer within commercial fields. Perutz founded Massif Central, a company that translates works by leading contemporary painters onto silk scarves, thereby conflating the already blurred boundaries that divide works of art, functional objects and fashion. Given their multifaceted roles within creative fields that veer from the conventional, it might then seem surprising that both artists turn to painting as a primary form of expression and exploration, and more so that both artists find commonality in the ways their works excavate elemental truths of painting and it’s relevance in our increasingly busy daily lives. For both Perutz and Hudson, painting serves as a means of slowing down, of distillation and simplification with an uncanny ability to simultaneously address the specific and universal.
The recent works of Tessa Perutz have taken her travels as a point of departure, creating landscape paintings that pull from a trip to Iceland or her paintings featured for this exhibition that employ excursions taken in and around the Bay Area while here for a residency. Perutz’s paintings first take shape with adventures to novel wildernesses outside the reaches of the city, which then become the subjects of gestural and alluringly simple drawings made while on site. Armed with this new library of source material, Perutz takes to translating these impressions into paint, using the drawing as a roadmap for translating unquantifiable experiences into emotive fields of color and line work, creating a new journey for the viewer upon the painting’s exhibition. As a native Chicagoan who now calls New York home, her unique perspective within the Bay Area as a relative outsider provides tantalizing views for both locals and newfound visitors alike. They’re reminders of the sublime power vested within our natural surroundings and the west coast vista at large – elements of our local experience too often compartmentalized and forgotten in the hustle and bustle of a daily urban existence. Yet while Perutz’s featured paintings reference locations of immediate proximity, her formal decisions – namely the simplification of landmasses and bodies of water into organic forms of a single hue, allow for a beguiling universality thereby creating new landscapes for a democratic imagination.