Unpublished, and not edited; written April/May 1978 for Art News
by Wade Saunders —
Upon receiving my unsolicited texts, Donald Goddard, the editor of Art News, invited me to his office in April 1978 and asked if there were current exhibitions I wished to review. I proposed those of Bryan Hunt and Charles Ginnever. He accepted my choices and asked me to write around 300 words on each artist. I wrote the reviews and mailed them in. Goddard contacted me and said that he liked the texts, but that Milton Esterow, the magazine’s owner and publisher, found them insufficiently “journalistic.” Goddard regretted that he could not publish them. I appreciated him making the effort to tell me what had happened. He was let go several months later.
Bryan Hunt is a young sculptor with a commercially viable look. In getting that look he has rethought the way sculpture functions as interior decoration and has fashioned a tasteful representational style. He duds up his subjects to make them attractive but convinces us that he is playing straight. A nice trick. His show included three sculptures as well as fifteen graphite and linseed oil drawings, nominally of waterfalls.
Sculptures began needing more space—real or implied—with the elimination of the base in the ‘60s. Hunt has returned to the spatial economy of traditional sculpture without recurring to bases. He floats his airships overhead. The beautiful slender cylindrical volumes come quietly out from the walls. They are at ease as placed. Once observed they can be ignored, for there is nothing in them to decode. But they aren’t trivial. His recent bronze editions embody more flexible solutions to using space. His cast lakes, though situated on the floor, seem to contract, as though there is a continuing suction in the center of each piece. The surfaces are worked and patinated to draw our attention inward. His two recent waterfalls suggest flaccidly modeled Giacomettis, But their slackness permits the pieces to stay still wherever put, to be spatially contained.
Hunt’s choice of subject matter is consistent and unusual. He most often renders only half of a contingent pair. He made a sculpture of the Hoover Dam, but not the flanking geology or backed up water. He cast Phobos, but not the planet Mars which holds it in orbit. His airships have no way to land, his lakes no shores. In Step Falls we see the falling water, not its source or the particular precipice. The flow of the water is stylized, like a time-lapse photo. The sculpture functions as much by implication as appearance. Hunt’s savvy with surface, form, and subject lets him have his way, however he wants it.