Nationally renowned American artist Tom Huck lands in Aberdeen this August for stage one of his residency here at Peacock Visual Arts. Huck will be carving and printing his latest giant wood block that adds to his ongoing monumental triptych series. The completed triptych – published by Peacock Visual Arts – will be displayed at the prestigious Fine Art Print Fair in New York 2020. Entitled “A Monkey Mountain Chronicle: The Great American Turdburger Conspiracy”. It’s all about bad healthcare, conspiracy theories, fast food and fat America, and the coming resulting apocalypse! Huck’s relationship with contemporary popular culture is complex. He is at once documenter, critic, and participant. Describing his work as a form of revenge, Huck’s inspiration focuses on the town of his youth, Potosi, and its citizens and histories. His art is concerned with issues of violence, racism, abuses of authority, and people who, as author William Gibson once put it, “don’t know shit about anything and hate anybody who does.” Muses of a mindset ready made to caricature, but synonymous with a deeper cultural malaise that has spread throughout America and her Western cousins.
Rednecks and Hillbillies are as embedded in the vernacular of the United States as Coca-Cola and Cadillacs. However, both groups’ histories migrate from Scotland. The original rednecks were Scots Presbyterians who defied the English crown and signed the Scottish National Covenant. Some signed in their own blood and also wore red scarfs around their neck to denote their willingness to lose their head over their religious beliefs. Hillbillies derive from the ‘Billy Boys’, Protestants from Scotland and Northern Ireland who supported William of Orange. Once they moved to the hills and hollers of the mountains they became Hill Billies instead of Billy Boys. If Tartan Day USA were to gather the Clans to its most authentic heartland, choosing Tennessee over New York may make clearer who we are, and perhaps, more tellingly reveal who we’ve become.
Huck hails from the adjoining state Missouri. Sarah Kirk Hanley in her recent review for Art in Print of Huck’s monumental new triptych – Electric Baloneyland – writes the following “Born and educated in the St. Louis area, he has made Midwesterners both the primary audience for and the central characters in his barbed satires of the devolving morality of Heartland culture. Electric Baloneyland presents a twisted amalgam of fat, angry, boozed, drugged, racist, bigoted and wilfully ignorant Americans having a good time at an American tradition: the county fair.” A brutal critique carved by the hand of a brilliant satirist. Huck’s acerbic social criticism uses wit to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society. Huck himself comments – “My works deal with personal observations about the experiences of living in a small town in southeast Missouri. The often strange and humorous occurrences, places, and people in these towns offer a never ending source of inspiration for my prints. I call this work “rural satire”. My work has been influenced by an array of artists, among them the woodcuts of Albrecht Durer, the etchings of Warrington Colesott, nearly all of the German Expressionists, and the late great Frank Zappa. My chosen media is printmaking, specifically the woodcut. The combination of dark humor with the inherently expressive medium of the woodcut heightens the complexity of my images.”
Huck possesses the uncanny ability to create technically superb, visceral, in the moment, monochromatic compositions that visually tell stories of complicated contemporary satire using the antique and painstakingly slow technique of woodcut printing. Each large-scale print requires an extraordinary focus and skill to carve, sometimes taking up to 2 year to complete. Equally impressive is the artist’s innate ability to embrace and sustain, with relish, the comic absurdity of human existence and connection with everyman. Huck comes across as not only the real deal but also a worthy inheritor of the legacy. Art critic Ivy Cooper said, “Tom Huck is one for the ages, up there with his influences – Durer, Hogarth and Crumb.”
“I’m very excited to work with David and Michael of Peacock Visual Arts on my next big woodcut triptych.
I think it’ll be great to have a European slant on my work and to experience working in a new shop environment.
The project, entitled The Monkey Mountain Chronicle, is a multi-paneled woodcut on paper that deals with fat America, conspiracy theories, and guns.”
– Tom Huck
Tom Huck in Residence at PVA – 16th August – 3rd October 2018.
For more information regarding the residency email: firstname.lastname@example.org