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The legacy of Luchita Hurtado, plus the Area Code Art Fair

Tuesday Night Painting #22

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Sophia Ainslie
Flashe and Acrylic paint on Polypropylene. 52" x 52". 2019

Hello painters, 

One problem I run into every week when I'm writing this letter is that I come across a lot of artists and a lot of artwork I'd love to share. Figuring out what to do with it all is not a bad problem to have, and I could probably write two or three of these letters a week.

I have a backlog of artists that I would love to cover, and despite that, painters just keep on painting, giving me even more material to work with. I'm starting to think I'm never going to get around to writing about every abstract painter in existence, but I'm chipping away at it.

Sophia Ainslie
Flashe, Acrylic paint, India ink on paper. 50” x 38”. 2015
Adding to my woes, the upcoming weeks are going to be busy ones for me. I'm still expecting to keep the newsletter humming along, but you might expect to see somewhat shorter write ups and more collections of links.

In the meantime, maybe you can write in to let me know about any paintings, artworks, exhibits, or anything else that you've come across that you think is worthy of attention. If you do, I'll be happy to throw your link onto the ever growing pile.
Sophia Ainslie
Flashe and Acrylic paint on Polypropylene. 52" x 52". 2019
I want to take a moment here at the top to let you know about the Area Code Art Fair. There are a variety of in person and online events scheduled as a part of this fair and if you're in the New England area you'll want to check out their schedule.

If you're not in the New England area, you can still see a lot of work highlighted online. I've gone through a picked out some of my favorite abstract work from the collection of Area Code artists, which include previous newsletter interviewee Vanessa Irzyk.

Steven Edson
Surface Tensions 01, 2020, Photography, 26 x 40 in

Steven Edson
Surface Tensions 04, 2020, Photography, 26 x 40 in
Sophia Ainslie: areacodeartfair.com/ainslie
Steven Edson: areacodeartfair.com/edson
Vanessa Irzyk: areacodeartfair.com/irzyk
Tyler Sorgman: areacodeartfair.com/sorgman
Vanessa Irzyk
Flank, 2019, Acrylic on Watercolor Paper, 35 x 52 in
Vanessa Irzyk
Flank, 2019, Acrylic on Watercolor Paper, 35 x 52 in
Tyler Sorgman
Superbloom, 2019, Acrylic on Canvas, 3 x 3 ft
Tyler Sorgman
Uproot, 2018, Acrylic and Graphite on Canvas, 3 x 3 ft
Area Code Art Fair runs from August 1st to August 31st. There is still plenty of time for you to check it out and there is plenty more work from all mediums on view. I'm sure you can find some work that you're into and get introduced to some new artists as well.
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"I Live I Die I Will Be Reborn"

Luchita Hurtado obituary

How can an artist so talented, so prolific, and with so many famous friends and connections within the art world, escape the notice of that world until her late 90s?

Born in November of 1920, Luchita Hurtado was an artist who kept up a vibrant painting practice throughout her life. As a young schoolkid in New York City, she secretly began to learn how to paint when her mother thought she was studying to become a seamstress. 

She became friends with many prominent artists while living in New York, including the sculptor Isamu Noguchi, and once attended a surreal party in Frida Kahlo's hospital room.
In 1957, Hurtado married the artist Lee Mullican, who was a West Coast, San Francisco based abstract painter and instructor. One of Mullican's paintings, seen above, comes from the short lived artistic movement dubbed "Dynaton" which you can read more about here. The son of Hurtado and Mullican is now also an artist himself, whose work you can see here. It helps to have good genes (and famous parents?)
Hurtado pictured in 1973 in LA.

Born in Venezuela but living in the US for most her life, the artist spent time on both coasts, as an aforementioned student and young artist in New York, but also as a painter in California. Hurtado also traveled extensively and spent much of her time painting in New Mexico.
Early on in her career, Hurtado was affiliated with a group of geometric abstract artists. That affiliation led to works such as the one above, which is titled "Self Portrait" and was completed in 1973.
In 1971, in her 50s, Hurtado joined the council of LA Women Artists, which gave her the motivation to begin showing her own work. Her most well known and most recently popularized paintings come from the "I Am" series. These works thrust the viewer into the artist's own perspective and often use colorful backdrops and textile patterns.

Discussing the private, intimate viewpoints present in all of her "I Am" works, Hurtado said: “This is a landscape, this is the world, this is all you have, this is your home, this is where you live. You are what you feel, what you hear, what you know.”


At the age of 95, Hurtado began exhibiting these works commercially. After three years of commercial exhibitions, Hurtado received major recognition when her works were included in the Hammer Museum's 2018 biennial exhibition entitled "Made in LA".

You can view a generous collection of her work exhibited at the Hammer Museum here.
Hurtado moved through a number of fascinating different painting series that are all well worth pursuing. There are so many that each series would be worth a long, in depth look in this letter, but I'll leave it to you to do some exploring on your own.

And so we're left with yet another instance of an incredibly talented artist who only began to be recognized for her work deep into her final years. You may recall that the artist Carmen Herrera's career has proceeded along similar lines.
At least we can be thankful that her work is now, within the past couple of years, starting to become unearthed and shared widely. You can get some more insights into her work by viewing the videos and images of her feature in Art21.

You can also expect many more obituaries, tributes, and retrospectives of her work to come. The curator Hans Ulrich Obrist is developing a book about Hurtado based on his conversations with her, and informs us that “Her legacy has only just begun.” 

USPS releases gorgeous set of Ruth Asawa stamps

Are you looking for an excuse to support the Postal Service for some reason? Maybe because it's been in the news a lot these days? Here is a good opportunity that I couldn't pass up sharing with you.
Ruth Asawa, the "pioneering Japanese American artist", and her beautiful abstract wire sculptures are being honored in this run of stamps. You can purchase a sheet of 20 Forever stamps here on the USPS website.
Here is your weekly reminder that this newsletter is free but not cheap. I've been spending more and more hours each week researching and writing about new artists for me and you to lovingly gaze at.
Chip in a few $$
If you can chip in a few dollars, I would very much appreciate it. 
And finally, I'll leave you with this painting. A depiction of Weymouth Bay by John Constable. This piece appealed to me because I've spent a lot of my time recently painting and looking at landscapes (although my neighborhood looks a lot different from this one).

This work was highlighted as the Guardian's "masterpiece of the week" and I recommend you subscribe to the Guardian's
weekly arts newsletter for a wide-ranging collection of links, exhibits, and articles. It's one of the resources I use to learn about what's going on in the art world.
And so we reach the end of another Tuesday Night letter. This week, check out this list of 12 "brilliant" recent jazz albums that you may have missed.

I randomly chose Lakecia Benjamin's saxophone tribute to John and Alice Coltrane from this list, just to give it a shot. I ended up listening to the entire thing in one sitting. Highly recommended!

If you have Spotify, and are in the mood for some lo-fi chill electronic tunes, then you can listen to this playlist compiled by a favorite artist who goes by the moniker of DJ BORING.

Check those out, and I'll see you next time!
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