Summer Series 2019 in Review: Elliott Hundley
September 12, 2019
Elliott Hundley was born in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1975. He received his B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence in 1997, and an M.F.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2005.
Hundley’s practice integrates photography, painting, collage, sculpture, performance, and drawing. Utilizing a myriad of diverse materials, he creates sculptures that hang from the ceiling, extend off the wall, or exist as freestanding objects. Mining the nostalgic and diverse qualities of his eclectic and quotidian materials, Hundley melds the familiar with the foreign in a layered and translucent world. These precarious, intricate, and multi- layered works are composed as a web of interconnections that create a wondrous and fragmented tableaux. Each artwork is an investigation into the material process and the resulting formal tension and visual narrative that unfolds.
The surfaces of Hundley’s works are built-up and composed from hundreds of elements including photographs taken during elaborate photo shoots. In these shoots, nude or semi-clothed sitters are adorned with jewelry, paint, or tunics and clutch various props. The figures are then cut out of the photographs (to erase any trace of recognizable time and location) and collaged to the surface of his works. These figures serve as focal points and illustrate the importance of both figure and landscape in his pieces. The intense physicality of Hundley’s work juxtaposed with incongruous scale and a disjointed aesthetic creates a formal distortion and friction emblematic of his practice.
Hundley’s work is a journey into history, mythology, and contemporary culture. His epically dense surfaces are laced with historical references and mythological narratives. Hundley culls fragments from ancient mythology to fuel obscure and mysterious visual dramas that unfold on the surface of his sculptures and present a dialogue between classical antiquity and the relics of modernity. His works communicate an abstract series of events that adhere to a chronology all their own. The coalescence of Hundley’s own personal and symbolic world with contemporary and ancient cultural references and signs creates a highly personalized visual language in his work.
He had his first solo exhibition at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles in 2006. In 2011 a major exhibition entitled, Elliott Hundley: The Bacchae, was on view at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, and traveled to the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas. Hundley was included in the 7th Moscow International Biennale of Contemporary Art, 2017-2018. He is the inaugural curator of Open House, a group exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles that features works drawn from the permanent collection, on view through September 16, 2019. Hundley is a recent recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Guggenheim Fellowship (2019).
His work is included in the permanent collections of many museums, such as the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Istanbul; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Louisiana Art Museum, Denmark; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Nasher Sculpture Center; Dallas; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; among others.
He lives and works in Los Angeles.