2016-06-30 / Around Town

Creatures Great and Small: Hunt Slonem at Jessica Hagen

By Betsy Sherman Walker


Hunt Slonem's vibrant cobalt bunnies, on a five-foot square canvas. Gallery hours at the Jessica Hagen Gallery are Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; and by appointment. Hunt Slonem's vibrant cobalt bunnies, on a five-foot square canvas. Gallery hours at the Jessica Hagen Gallery are Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; and by appointment. “The Brooklyn-based painter Hunt Slonem,” we reported last November in Newport This Week, “is a high-profile, highly prolific, slightly quirky artist whose favorite subjects include rabbits, doves, and parrots.” Besides being one of the artists at Jessica Hagen Fine Art + Design in Newport (he joined Hagen’s stable in 2014), his work can also be seen at the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Beyond domestic walls, Slonem enjoys a global following. Last fall his canvases – filled with his trademark flora and fauna – were featured at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. One reviewer called them “brilliant masterpieces that blend elements of pop art and figurative expressionism. The viewers will be immersed in the artist’s bright and sensual repeated patterns – his technique and obsession.”

Slonem and his bright and sensual canvases will be back in Newport on Friday, July 8, for the opening of his one-man show at Jessica Hagen Fine Art + Design.

“I am not exaggerating,” Hagen said, “when I say that every painting is a home run. Each and every one is stunning!”

There will be 30 paintings in all, featured in the smaller and more intimate spaces of Hagen’s gallery. In Slonem’s empire, part of the appeal is that the familiar and beloved get the monumental treatment. One of the highlights of the show, “Cobalt Bunnies,” Hagen explains, “is made with oil and diamond dust. It is five foot by five foot, and sparkly.”

There is also, she adds, an orange diamond dust version, “sparkly too!”

Hagen said last fall, “Hunt is an all-American beloved guy.” Yet his appeal is universal. In an interview last winter on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” he was clearly pleased that another critic in Moscow had called his work “monumental and uplifting.”

Profiles on “CBS Sunday Morning” have featured not only his art, but his collection of real estate as art. In recent years, he has acquired a number of architecturally striking old houses around the country, which he then fills to the brim with more of his art and things he has collected.

Go for the art, stay for the uplift.

The show runs from July 8-Aug. 7. Jessica Hagen Fine Art + Design gallery is located at 9A Bridge St. in Newport. (jessicahagen.com; 401- 835-7682)

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