Kate Hunt, one of the West’s most important and innovative artists, has mastered transforming an everyday material that is usually used once then discarded into a powerful medium. She uses newspaper to create formally and conceptually strong sculptural works of varied shape, thought provoking content and strange beauty.
An exhibit featuring Hunt’s recent works is currently on display at the Missoula Art Museum through Feb. 21.
This exhibition is full of surprises.
These recent works are easily recognizable as Hunt’s because of her signature method of working with newspaper, because she has long used it as a sculptural medium. These new works, however, include strong formal sensibilities incorporating both the walls and floors.
The central work in the exhibition is entitled “Floor” and incorporates an assembly of more than 30 columns arranged in a repetitive fashion on the floor. The sheer number of pieces in the center of the Carnegie Gallery inside the MAM demands attention. This large sculpture is in reality an installation.
Initially, the viewer brings with them a preconceived notion that newspaper should be recycled and is fragile and disposable. But one of the powerful messages manifested by Hunt in this exhibit is the idea that newspaper is strong, durable, and resists decomposition. There is a sense of discovery in uncovering the human energy and ingenuity in the construction of her work.
There is an influence of minimalism present in Hunt’s work. Minimalism, or what some people refer to as reductivism, is an aesthetic where the artist reduces the expression to the bare essential design elements.
Hunt is driven by the clarity with which she understands her materials. She is ingenious in marrying skills.
She is an artist who brings together the skills of a print shop trimmer, drill press operator, metal fabricator and construction worker. She paints, draws and fabricates. She has a very strong drive and direction and knows exactly where she wants to arrive. Included in the exhibition are two drawings of goats, each a companion in her creative journey.
While this might seem incongruous, they are included as part of a way to more completely understand and appreciate the artist, her life, and her life’s work where all ideas swirl around in the creative process.
Today Hunt lives and maintains a studio in Creston. She received a bachelor’s degree of fine arts from Kansas City Art Institute and a master’s degree of fine arts from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Mississippi.
She has had many solo exhibitions in venues throughout the country, including Portland Art Museum; Nicolaysen Art Museum, Casper, Wyoming; Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, Kansas City, Missouri; Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings; and in years past MAM. She has been the recipient of a Montana Arts Council Individual Artist Award, and an Adolf and Esther Gottlieb Individual Support Grant. Her work is included in numerous collections, including Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, Yellowstone Art Museum, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, and the Missoula Art Museum.
Admission is always free at the MAM. Gallery hours are Tuesday- Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.