Jon Barlow Hudson
Born: Montana, USA 1945
"My art and sculpture career has progressed from previous incarnations carving religious icons in Tibet and designing sacred spaces in India, working close to the land in ancient Scotland and bringing my fellow Native American peoples together in the Idaho region - I was born in Montana and lived my first five years in Casper, Wyoming. My art-works today bring together all these and more recent experiences, feelings, thoughts and techniques.
Since we supposedly choose our parents, I chose a father who was a writer, a violinist, a professional magician, a hydro-geologist and a builder of dwellings. My mother was a weaver, a writer, a teacher and an activist in the public realm. These influences inspired me and were stimulated by our living in and traveling all over the world throughout my life. The first overseas adventure was to Saudi Arabia in 1951 for three years. During these times in foreign lands, where my brothers and I had free rein to explore, we either lived near to or visited such architectural and monumental structures as Baalbek, Petra, the Acropolis, Stonehenge, Machu Pichu, Chartres, ancient kivas and vast natural environments of desert, mountain and jungle. All these experiences, adventures and inspiring peoples have formed me and my career as a sculptor of works of art for public environments.
As a youth I built all manner of things and also painted a bit. Actually "making art" as a photographer began in adolescence. I started painting seriously in college and then segued into constructing sculpture. After two years, I transferred to the Dayton Art Institute, where I explored other areas of creativity but focused in on sculpture. After two and a half years at the Institute, wanderlust returned! I traveled to Senegal, West Africa where I worked in the bush for my Father for six months. I then made my way up through Spain to Stuttgart in early 1969 where I had a very productive work-period at the Kunst Akademy. These sculptures were all welded steel, with some found parts, most created, with a bit of an influence from David Smith. After perhaps six months there I had a serious motor cycle accident so I felt it was time to head back to the States.
I worked for a year as an assistant to sculptor Charles Ginnever in Vermont (1969-70), passing another productive year there, learning a lot about the life of a professional sculptor. From Vermont I went to California to study at the California Institute of the Arts for two years, the very first years of that school. I received both my Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degrees while there. This was also a very creative sojourn, where I created sculpture on both large-scale and small, as well as installation. It also allowed me to study T'ai Chi Chuan with Marshall Ho'o, sculpture with Lloyd Hamroll, happenings with Allan Kaprow and art history with Paul Brach.
The intensity of life in L.A. was quite enough and I needed a return to nature, so I went to work in a gold mine in the northern California Sierra Nevada Mountains for two years, where I constructed much of the processing and mining equipment and a few sculptures. This period of time reinforced my commitment to my sculpture, so from the mountains of California I went to the High Plains of New Mexico for a time, exhibiting a large aluminium sculpture installation at the Museum of Art in Roswell. I then returned to home-base in the forests of Yellow Springs, OH, where I set up a studio and began my life as a professional sculptor. This early period included some teaching at university, my first professional commission in 1976 in Columbia, Missouri, and first " % for Art" project in 1979 for MetroDade at the Public Library in Homestead, Florida. Since then, I have traveled the Nation and the world creating large-scale sculpture projects primarily for public environments.
In 1985 my wife and creative partner, Debbie Brush Henderson, and I moved into the new sculpture studio that we built with Father's help. We were married by my Mother, then the first woman mayor of Yellow Springs. In the latter 90's I helped Debbie create a wide-ranging collection on the history of the man's hat, which as a museum exhibit has venued at three art museums. This was the result of her doctoral research in costume history with the Union Institute in Cincinnati, supporting her teaching of costume at Wittenburg University. It has also resulted in four beautiful books on this subject, designed by Jane Baker of Wild Goose Press. The most recent is "HAT TALK: -Conversations with 20th Century Hatters".
Many of my earlier sculpture installations have been made with stainless steel, steel (sometimes painted), brass and copper, bronze, glass, water, fiber optic light and other materials. One important such commission was for two major works in stainless steel for the World Expo 88 in Brisbane, Australia: PARADIGM, which is 100 feet high by 8 feet diameter with 66 airplane landing lights mounted inside. It required about five months to construct and is as straight as an arrow. The other Expo piece is the 15 foot diameter, mirror polished, MORNING STAR, requiring three months to construct, being finished on site in an additional five weeks. Another well received project is the cast bronze TREE OF KNOWLEDGE, created for my hometown of Yellow Springs, OH. This project took about two years altogether and was funded by the community.
The most important fellowship received to date was in 1982, the Lusk Memorial Fellowship, administered by the Institute of International Education. With it I was able to live in Italy for a year and study stone-working and bronze casting in Carrara and Pietrasanta. The knowledge gained from this year in Italy has been of paramount service to me. Having found stone, one can see that it has been with me for ages-building temples and icons in times gone by, playing on the likes of Baalbek and Cuzco, having a father who was a geologist to teach me about stone and building, then on a grant to the high marble quarries of Carrara and later to the ancient quarry along the Nile at Aswan, Egypt. From this came sculpture projects like CLOUD HANDS, CADUCEUS, SYNCHRONICITY III, the Aswan grouping, KOKANEE/EN-TEE-TUEK and the smaller-scale series: TS'UNG TUBE and the ETRUSCAN MAENAD.
In the past year I installed SYNCHRONICITY III, carved with northern Ontario black diamond granite, sometimes called Cambrian or gabbro. This piece is eleven feet high by six feet wide, installed in the Mason Sculpture Park in Kettering, OH. It is the precursor to the Aswan granite piece: SYNCHRONICITY IV:ABAAD. Both works signifying an instance of synchronicity. SYNCH IV:ABAAD is part of five other large- scale granite sculptures I created at Aswan in 2001 and 2002. I also constructed ARK OF THE SUN AND THE MOON, using several different granites, stainless steel, stained glass and fiber optic lighting emanating from within the stone. This piece is installed in the new headquarters lobby of School Employee's Retirement System in Columbus, OH. Also this year I carved a thirteen foot British Columbia pink granite monolith into a Kokanee salmon for the city of Penticton, BC, Canada. One side is a realistic sockeye salmon representing the Anglo cultures of BC and the other side, depicted in an Inland Salish motif, is a female salmon laying roe, representing the First Nation cultures of the Northwest. Both aspects of the salmon share the overall form of the stone, appearing to be as one from a distance, sharing the same mouth at the top.
This hewing of stone in far-flung locals is part of a journey exploring form, materials and meaning through sculpture-of expressing feelings, visions and ideas of our shared life on this planet. One reason I often sculpt with stone is that it so well represents the natural world, its' past, the present and beyond into the future. It also functions wonderfully as a natural foil to man-made materials, architecture, water, light and a host of other elements. Additionally, the sensual and aesthetic satisfaction of creating a sculpture with stone is one of those delightfully indefinable experiences that is hopefully shared with you, the viewer. As my friend, the Italian artigiano, Sauro Lorenzoni would say - "buon lavorro!" "
Source: Hudson Sculpture
This piece and one other were made in 2002 during a local sculpture symposium. The second piece was sold in the Penticton Art Gallery's Annual Art Auction with this piece joining the permanent collection.
This piece is about the state of young childhood: uncomplex, without ego . . . uncarved.
It also expresses the philosophy of Tai Chi in that it has a central axis around which the form flows.