Artists

John Hurrell

Thing 18, 2010, mixed media

Biography

Roving across the structural grids of cities, in an end game that obliterates the majority of all roads, seasoned artist, critic, and curator, John Hurrell, saturates paper maps with an opaque ebony field, blotting out layers of information to create striking, subtractive imagery. The addition of paint negates large urban hubs and pathways, while distilling the strategic networks of streets and alleyways, which will eventually reveal the contours of a nose, mouth, and eyes.
 
The magnificent, Self Portrait iii, from his 1993 Structural Constellations series and exhibition, reveal wild capillaries of a face inspired by the self-portraits of Josef Albers, made between the period of 1914 and 1918. The method by which Hurrell locates the final image from the original writhing layout of paper maps shows that subjective information can be discovered within codified and hidden structures. His meticulous process involves the faithful tracing of each street until its completion takes the artist on a bewildering journey across several other uncharted territories.

A similar obsessive process is lavished onto Hurrell’s more recent pasta paintings, which also uses a personal gaming structure to lift and reassemble erotic passages penned by his preferred authors. Individual pasta letters must be initially sorted before they can be hand applied to the support, in neat little rows. The texture of the glazed pasta letters evokes historical bronzed plaques, often containing matter-of-fact statements and objective information. Conversely, Hurrell’s paintings wield a minimalist aesthetic but are charged with fiery, passionate, in fact vulgar text!
 
Both the pasta and map works beckons the viewer closer in order to peel away obfuscating layers and distances hindering a beautiful view of the phenomena simply waiting beneath the surface
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