Sedrick Huckaby's "Hidden in Plain Sight"

by Andrea Packard '85

Sedrick Huckaby is the 2013 Donald J. Gordon Visiting Artist and Lecturer. His List Gallery exhibition (Jan. 24 - Feb. 24) features paintings, drawings, and prints that celebrate cultural heritage, faith, and community. Curated by Andrea Packard '85, List Gallery director, the exhibition is titled after a featured work, Hidden in Plain Sight (2011).

Joining four rectangular panels, each of which depicts a different quilt pattern, Huckaby arranges the folds of the fabric so that they imply a large oval that unifies the adjacent quilts. The oval is present yet hidden, ephemeral yet preserved through the act of painting. Such works remind us of rich cultural traditions that are too often lost or overlooked. Another highlight of the exhibition is Winter, a 8-foot-tall by 20-foot-long work from Huckaby's series A Love Supreme. Combining the languages of representation and abstraction, this masterwork links African American quilt traditions, modernist formal concerns, and the improvisational colors and rhythms of jazz. 

The smaller room of list gallery features The 99%, Huckaby's installation of portraits in a quilt-like assemblage of shifting color and scale. The installation includes more than 100 lithographs Huckaby created during a recent residency at the Brandywine Print Workshop in Philadelphia. Covering two opposite walls and spanning nearly 350 square feet, his paintings, oil pastels, prints, and ink drawings on paper and Mylar represent individuals-both familiar faces and new acquaintances-that are part of his expanding circle.

Although he began his series by drawing subjects he encountered near his neighborhood in Fort Worth, Tex., Huckaby's ongoing series focuses less on locale than on the process of affirming people who might otherwise remain unseen or unimportant. Huckaby often asks his subjects to share a few words about what is most important to them and sometimes includes their words in his compositions. Connecting through both word and image, he makes each portrait session an opportunity to exchange empathy and build community. Although racial and economic biases persist within a globalized consumer culture and often reinforce stereotyping, The 99% affirms the ongoing ability of art to  affirm and extend our common humanity.

Born in 1975 in Fort Worth, Huckaby received a B.F.A. from Boston University and an M.F.A. from Yale University. Winner of numerous awards including a Joan Mitchell Foundation Award and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, his work can be found in distinguished permanent collections such as the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, N.C. Huckaby is represented by Valley House Gallery, Dallas Tex.