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- Fury: Portraits of Turbulent Skies Opens at Canadian Museum of Nature
Fury: Portraits of Turbulent Skies Opens at Canadian Museum of Nature
Ottawa, October 4, 2012—The dark beauty and drama of storm clouds have rolled into the Canadian Museum of Nature in a new exhibition of paintings by Ottawa artist Stephen Hutchings.
Fury: Portraits of turbulent skies will be on display until March 3, 2013. This new art show coincides with the opening of the museum's newest attraction, Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters.
Hutchings created a suite of eight large paintings that reflect his fascination with wild weather. Although his works find their source in newsreel and Internet depictions of real storms, Hutchings explains that "the paintings extend these images into metaphors that express the fears and terrors of contemporary life." Titles such as Gathering Storm, The Vortex and Rain Curtain evoke the scenes depicted on the canvasses, which each measure 2.4 m × 2.4 m (8 ft. × 8 ft.).
"We're delighted to feature Stephen Hutchings's work at the Canadian Museum of Nature as part of our ongoing efforts to present nature-themed art shows," says Meg Beckel, the museum's President and CEO. "His evocative and breathtaking take on storms is another way to encourage our visitors to explore, connect with, and be inspired by the natural world."
Hutchings starts his work with a photograph that he manipulates and re-composes using a computer, creating what he calls "digital sketches". These grainy sketches reference the work of the pictorialist photographers from the late 1800s. The finished sketch is transferred to the canvas and becomes a fully realized charcoal drawing. Borrowing from 18th-century glazing techniques, as well as four-colour offset lithography, the drawing is covered with separate layers of different colours to arrive at the final painting.
Hutchings' paintings are included in many museum, corporate and private collections in Canada, the United States and Europe. His exhibition of large-scale work, Landscapes for the End of Time, is currently on tour and he is represented by commercial galleries across Canada.
The Halifax, Nova Scotia-born artist grew up in Toronto, Ontario, where he received a degree in art history at the University of Toronto. He then spent many years in Banff, Alberta, raising a family and running a book publishing company. He and his family moved to Ottawa four years ago, where he now lives and works in his studio.
Entrance to Fury: Portraits of turbulent skies is included with regular museum admission.
The Canadian Museum of Nature is located at 240 McLeod Street, Ottawa, Ontario. Until May 1, the museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, as well as extended hours on Thursdays until 8:00 pm. (Also open Mondays during holiday periods). For full details, including fees and hours, visit nature.ca. Follow the museum on Twitter @MuseumofNature or become a fan on Facebook.
Read more about Stephen Hutchings and his work.
Artist's Statement: Stephen Hutchings, September 2012
Since my childhood, I have always been fascinated by how nature seems to reflect our personal feelings and moods: when I feel down, the skies turn grey; when I am happy, the sun shines through. The atmosphere created by skies plays a powerful role in expressing the emotive tone of any particular time, be it day or night. The English landscape painter, John Constable, made watercolour and charcoal sketches of imposing skies near his rural home near Suffolk in order to understand how to increase the drama and emotional tension in his work. His famous painting, The Hay Wain, portrays a gentile, rural scene that takes it ominous cue from the threatening clouds that fill the sky above.
Fury is a suite of paintings that portray the terrible beauty of celestial storm clouds. Although they find their source in newsreel and Internet depictions of real storms, the paintings extend these images into metaphors that express the fears and terrors of contemporary life. Life today, in our western world, seems to exist on a thin edge between balance and chaos, between comfort and disaster. The Fury paintings of menacing skies and furious clouds are as beautiful as they are portentous.
About the Canadian Museum of Nature
The Canadian Museum of Nature is Canada's national museum of natural history and natural sciences. It promotes awareness of Canada's natural heritage through signature and travelling exhibitions, public education programmes, on-going scientific research, a dynamic web site and the maintenance of a 10.5 million-specimen collection. For more information, visit nature.ca.
Senior Media Relations Officer
Canadian Museum of Nature