Caroline Huff Solo Exhibition
August 7 – 29, 2015
Caroline Huff wants to take viewers on a journey from the Chesapeake Bay to Italy and the Greek Islands in her new exhibit at River Arts which opens on August 7. An opening reception to meet Huff and view this exhibit will be held from 5 to 8 p.m.,August 7, at the gallery. Everyone is welcome to attend. The exhibit runs through August 29.
When Huff was a child, her painter father encouraged her to make art. She never had another ambition. Reflecting on her long career, Huff speaks with the same assurance she felt as a child, “Painting is what I do. It is my life.”
She paints some figures, but landscapes are her forte. Her images may be of a lone figure sitting by the sea, sun-struck houses or a Southwestern chapel. Light is the common denominator in her work. Critics have praised Huff’s ability to use light to transmit the impact of a scene, emphasizing the bright whites of the buildings, stones of pastel blues and pinks.
“Light is the stimulus for color and provides the structure for design,” she says. “It creates shapes, defines images and establishes mood. I have attempted to capture moments in the changing light of timeless settings – an old boat resting on the Chesapeake Bay or on the sunny beach of a Greek island. In my work, I have sought to sustain the fresh visual surprises found in ancient places.”
Huff begins each painting with a “wonderful system – totally disorganized.” She constantly goes through her cases of slides and her photos, thousands of them, waiting for something to come forward. It might be a photo she took last week or 30 years ago. She finds this search a pleasure, yet the most grueling part of the creative process.
Once she’s chosen a photo or a group of photos, Huff thinks about what else is needed. A figure may need a different setting; a setting may need a different mood or light. Once the subject is settled, Huff draws with paint on her canvas, with each mark calling for a response elsewhere on the linen. Soon, the entire canvas is filled with thin washes of acrylic color. Slowly, layer by layer, the painting develops in every area of the canvas, on and on, until, as Matisse said, “Not one more line, color or shape can add to it.”
Although she paints mostly from slides and photos, “I am not a photorealist,” she says. She prefers the term “veduta ideata”, which means a realistic scene whose elements are completely imaginary. “Imagination takes over and the realities are juxtaposed,” she explains. The concept relates to work by Guardi and Canaletto, but emerges as her own personal statement seen in her evocative and often mysterious paintings of Greek Island scenes.
Much of her work was inspired by her many travels throughout the Mediterranean, where she visited Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Greece and the islands of Rhodes, Santorini, Sifnos, Paros, Skiathos and Mykonos. “We stopped on Mykonos,” Huff recalls, “and I said immediately, ‘This is me; this is my place.’ It had a treeless, stark beauty. Its white, sculptural structures seemed to emerge from the earth. They were as natural as the sea itself. People there, sitting by the sea, were doing the same things they’ve done for thousands of years. There was a sense of timelessness.”
A former art educator prior to her retirement, Huff attended school in Richmond, at what is now Virginia Commonwealth University, and eventually earned her master of arts degree at American University.
She has lived in Maryland ,West Va. and in Santa Fe, N.M.She has had more than 50 shows throughout her career in New York City, Houston, Scottsdale, Beverly Hills, Washington, D.C., North Carolina and throughout the Chesapeake Bay area.
Huff now lives full time in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.