Rebecca Hutchinson’s sculptural and site-specific works are influenced by ecosystem dynamics and environmental concerns. She was recently announced as the Massachusetts representative for the National Museum of Women in the Arts 2015 Women to Watch Exhibition. She is a New England Artist Award recipient and fellowship recipient from: The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Puffin Foundation, Virginia Cultural Commission, The North Carolina Arts Council, Virginia Commission of the Arts. She has exhibited widely in the USA and Europe.
“In nature there are diverse states of existence that I continue to study: the structure of nature, the interaction with other forces of nature, the resilience of nature, and the complexity and awe in the engineering of nature. All these states express the motivation for the need to survive and provide endless source material for diverse construction and conceptual possibilities for art making. Moreover, they provide endless opportunities for metaphor–speaking to the depth and complexity of living with the hopes of revealing the human condition in visual and sculptural form.,
Within the study of ecology and ethology these states of existence are articulated. As a point of reference for building sculptural installations, I utilize specific structural engineering strategies found in functional growth relationships, and even deformities within specific plant formations. Similarly, I look at animal and insect structures and benefit from an understanding of their ecosystem function and engineering. My main interest has been looking at coexistence and structural functionality found in nature and the beauty of species manipulation. I observe and am inspired by the balance of fragility with an essence of need and individuality that species maintain.
Utilizing traditional and non-traditional ceramic materials and processes, my work focuses on the respect for process and the endless influences found in nature. Formally and structurally, my interest is in the details: quality of craft, connections, and structure, and conceptually an understanding of all physical parts to the whole. I build site-responsive clay and fibrous sculptural works made from a variety of found, upcycled and harvested materials, such as recycled 100% natural fiber clothing or garden flora beat down to pulp and formed into handmade sheets, and industrial castoff surplus materials, like cotton thread from the bedding industry or sisal from the burlap bag industry.
Clay is either site-dug or purchased and mixed with pulp for a slurry of paperclay. I hand model, slip trail, dip surplus industrial materials or handmade paper forms, and pour paper clay slip between papers, and cut and construct. Each paperclay form can be fired or remain non-fired. A sticky mixture of paperclay mixed with glue binds the handmade paper and the paperclay florettes to each other and to a simple constructed wooden frame. Installation construction is influenced conceptually by specific growth patterns but does not replicate nature. Like an animal that uses the vernacular from place, I, too, upcycle humble materials and remake them into what I hope to be exquisite sculptural forms.”
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