Chroma Hunt

Hugo Wilson, Chroma Hunt

From cave drawings to medieval tapestry, classical pottery to Rubens or Rembrandt, the hunt has provided artists with powerful subject matter for thousands of years. Much of this power has to do with power: the physical prowess of early humanity, the great gods of Graeco-Roman mythology, or the wealth of the landed aristocracy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. At home, they reshaped the landscape to better serve their love of hunting. At the same time, foreign travel fuelled a taste for the exotic, and vice-versa. After all, what could be more wonderfully thrilling than a dead tiger?

Today, hunting remains widespread. While most Western tourists shoot big game only with cameras, the EU still opposes a total ban on ivory, British princes are questioned by police over the shooting of rare hen harriers, and hunting of the so-called “big five” (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, rhino) remains an alluring past-time for many.

It is in this complex context that artist Hugo Wilson has produced a series of dramatic and darkly beautiful etchings of hunting scenes. Currently on show at Shapero Modern in London (to 21st January 2017), the works are inspired by or based on well-known works by artists like Delacroix or Stubbs. Wilson’s technically adroit engravings capture the same brutality and dynamism as those great works of art history, but with an additional layer of ethical complexity. By cropping the compositions to exclude the human hunters, is Wilson suggesting that such acts of violence are inherent in nature regardless of human intervention? Or implicating the viewer in a crime scene of our own creation? Such questions, as ever, remain tantalisingly open and ambiguous.

 

Hugo Wilson

 

Hugo Wilson

 

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Hugo Wilson, Chroma Hunt is at Shapero Modern, London until 21st January 2017.

Image credits (from top):
1. Hugo Wilson, Hunt I, 2016, hand-coloured etching and aquatint on Velin Arches Blanc 400gsm, sheet size: 58 x 58 cm
2. Hugo Wilson, Hunt III, 2016, hand-coloured etching and aquatint on Velin Arches Blanc 400gsm, sheet size: 58 x 58 cm
3. Hugo Wilson, Hunt V, 2016, hand-coloured etching and aquatint on Velin Arches Blanc 400gsm, sheet size: 58 x 58 cm
4. Hugo Wilson, Hunt II, 2016, hand-coloured etching and aquatint on Velin Arches Blanc 400gsm, sheet size: 58 x 58 cm
5. Hugo Wilson, Hunt VI, 2016, hand-coloured etching and aquatint on Velin Arches Blanc 400gsm, sheet size: 58 x 58 cm
6. Hugo Wilson, Hunt IX, 2016, hand-coloured etching and aquatint on Velin Arches Blanc 400gsm, sheet size: 58 x 58 cm
7. Hugo Wilson, Hunt VII, 2016, hand-coloured etching and aquatint on Velin Arches Blanc 400gsm, sheet size: 58 x 58 cm

 

The Learned Pig

The Learned Pig

The Learned Pig is an online magazine with four main areas of interest, one for each leg: art, thinking, nature, writing. Launched in November 2013, the magazine is interested in pretty much anything that falls into these, admittedly rather large, categories.