Andree Hudson’s “Motion and Emotion:” A dance of opposites
Andrée Hudson’s artwork is a study in contrasts. She paints seated figures deep in thought, but also herds of stampeding cows. She matches subdued blues and greens with nearly neon pinks and oranges. She casts riding cowboys into landscapes made of hazy, abstract atmosphere.
Hudson’s upcoming show “Motion and Emotion” at first seems like a chance to study these dualities, with her animals showing frantic pathos and her sitters exhibiting deep ethos. But just as the show’s title is a Russian doll of sorts, so the ideas begin to blend as you take in the paintings.
Hudson’s varied artistic training is a clue to this swirling sensibility.
“I’ve been working in oils since I was a little kid,” says Hudson, who grew up in Annapolis. When she was in first grade, one of her images was projected at the front of the Smithsonian Museum. In high school she was commissioned to paint portraits and murals.
Hudson changed course in college, studying illustration and visual communication at the Maryland Institute of Art. She was so talented at capturing skeletal and muscular form that she was soon drawing for medical publications and textbooks.
“That was to pay the bills,” she says with a laugh. The training influenced her oils at the time, though. “If you look at my old stuff, I was much tighter.”
Now Hudson lives in the foothills of Denver, and her painting style has shifted to match Colorado’s colorful landscape and people. Her brushstrokes are broad and gestural, her colors utterly expressionistic.
“I get my energy from the cowboys and the horses out here,” Hudson says. She’ll take her camera out in the field to capture people, animals and landscapes. Back in the studio she lets her imagination choose the vibrant colors that bring her subjects to life. “My colors are not real at all, it’s all in my head,” she says.
It’s these colors that tie together the works in “Motion and Emotion.” Whether it’s the mysterious cowgirl of “Waiting For You” or the stolid “Canyon Longhorns,” her subjects all bask in the vibrant rays of the high desert sun. In these full but tender hues, everything holds a joyful sensuality.
“A lot of times I’m painting longhorns, and they remind me of ballerinas,” says Hudson. “I think horses are very sensuous, but it’s just something about the way cows run towards you that looks like a dance.”
Insights like these burst from Hudson’s canvases. Even her running animals or racing bikers seem caught in a single moment of time that’s preserved in paint. They give you a chance to pause and consider each subject’s story.
For Hudson, these moments are most gripping when they bubble up from unknown places.
“Sometimes the paintings just appear, and I have no idea how they were created,” says Hudson. “I think that’s where you reach that euphoria.”
Hudson pauses for a moment, lost in thought.
“Or maybe the painting’s already there, and I just went through the motions to paint it out,” she says.
Do Hudson’s paintings materialize, or are they buried deep in her head? Or both? It’s hard to say, but that’s the beauty of a Hudson.
Andree Hudson’s “Motion and Emotion” runs from July 17 to July 20, 2012. Join us on Friday, July 20 for the artist reception from 5 – 7pm.
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