I, Me, You {2013} Erin Rachel Hudak

Michael Behle: Written word and photographic images have been prominent elements in your work. Can you discuss that and where it comes from?

Erin Rachel Hudak: I have always been very captured by ‘A Story’. Both photographs and literature are transporters. They access a space where you become the witness, and are able to examine life at a new perspective other than your own.


Love You Forever (NYC) {2011} Erin Rachel Hudak

Of course my early interest in these materials were out of curiosity. I began purchasing old educational picture books from thrift stores when I was thirteen. Much of how I learned to really see the world was through photos, like National Geographic and Encyclopaedia Britannica…as books, not through computers. I have also written and journaled since I was in about 5th grade. So the written word is as much a part of my artwork as a brush, because it remains the foundation where things begin.


Love You Forever (Sun Valley) {2012} Erin Rachel Hudak

MB: How does the interplay of abstraction and representation function in your work?

ERH: I do love to bounce back and forth. I believe [that] sometimes it is very important to be clear about what I am saying with [regards to] forms that represent things in our world. However, these things are usually just pointers for ideas, concepts and not just ‘the thing’ itself. Then there are times that a representation would overpower and block the interpretation, or would become too easy of a read and deny the viewer the depth I hope they will seek in the work. Sometimes there is a bridge between the two, and this is the place where I have been working recently. The elements that someone could point out as representing something are dually linked with formal choices that also can be abstracted and interpretive.


Waterfall Wall {2012} Erin Rachel Hudak

MB: I think of painting as your voice. How would you describe it’s accent?

ERH: My accent is strong, vibrant and clear. Color is very important as well as line. The mark can be delicate or heavy, or scripted, but always sensitive to intention. I am not personally interested in paint as an illusion, or even the exploration of paint as just paint, I seek the balance between.


Meeting {2013} Erin Rachel Hudak

MB: How/where does that come from? (personal history, influences, studies…etc)


Rooting {2013} Erin Rachel Hudak

ERH: Oh my, from every tiny morsel of life! I mean, in terms of personal history I have seen myself as a serious artist since I was a kid. Once I made this painting of a sunset, in oil, I was very young. I finished it and showed it to my Mom, who was always amazingly supportive. She made a suggestion to add more orange or something. I went down to my studio in my parents basement (they had given me a studio of my own) and signed my own declaration that I would never paint again, and then proceeded to sign it. It’s funny to remember that now, but it reminds me that even at a really young age I didn’t want to make art that just looked pretty. I wanted to make work that was honest. Through school that desire to make the most honest work has remained the same regardless of the medium.

When I was at Allegheny College, I really discovered sculpture, photography and performance art. Then I went on to SCAD to focus on photography. After intensely studying photography for five years, mostly doing set-up self performance documentation, I left that process to return to painting mostly because I no longer had access to the darkroom as a graduate. Now with digital photography I would have had completely different options. That was about ten years ago. I have been primarily working in painting, and installation since. I do have some performance ideas that seem to be recirculating in my mind. I always want to use the medium that is right for the artwork.

MB: How do you feel that “accent” changes the subject matter you discuss?

ERH: The subject matter I choose may be something that is benign in another persons perspective, but for me it becomes charged when it goes through ‘my accent’ or voice.


Fire-Headress {2011} & Neon Campfire (violet) {2012} Erin Rachel Hudak

MB: How do your sculptures and installations, and the process of creating them relate to your 2d works?

ERH: They actually all come from the same beginning, which is “phrases.” Words in certain chains, or phrases will turn round and round in my head and these will become the sculptures, or the starting point for paintings. I feel that sometimes the words by themselves need to be contemplated, or played with, and turned around. I will visualize them as actually taking up physical space for people to contend with them. However, because of the amount of time, space, energy etc that it takes to create installations and sculptures, I love working out the chains on paper or on canvas as it is more immediate.


What We See {2012} Erin Rachel Hudak


So Much More Here {2012} Erin Rachel Hudak

MB: Regarding your studio practice, what do you pay attention to?

ERH: My attention. It can be a battle to be present in your studio. There are so many things that must ‘be done’ or are demanding to fracture your attention. I always think of a quote from Philip Guston {When you’re in the studio painting, there are a lot of people in there with you – your teachers, friends, painters from history, critics… and one by one if you’re really painting, they walk out. And if you’re really painting YOU walk out.}

So when I go into my studio I try to leave everything at the door except my attention to the connection between my hand and the work.

MB: A historical figure you admire?

ERH: The Peace Pilgrim. From 1953 to 1981 she walked over 25,000 miles, across the United States, on a personal pilgrimage for peace. She had no one with her, no one to catch her fall, she just put one foot in front of the other for thousands of miles because it was what she believed in.


Everything Is Fine (NYC) {2010} Erin Rachel Hudak

MB: Favorite city?

ERH: Paris! And of course, NYC. Every time I cross the Brooklyn Bridge I feel so elated to call this city my home.


From Here to There {2013} Erin Rachel Hudak

MB: Any information on upcoming projects?

ERH: After my solo show in July with Ochi Gallery, I have started a whole new body of work. For the moment it is called Messages/The Great Beyond. So far most of the work is on paper, but I am moving into canvas as well, then I have some large installations planned. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to go to Paul Artspace in January, where I will be realizing one, or maybe two of my installations out on the grounds of the residency.


You Are My Reflection {2014} Erin Rachel Hudak


Michael Behle {I’m very interested in the human experience—it offers up a tremendous field on which an unending cultivation of ideas can be explored. More specifically, my work has focused in a large part on the idea of cycle and the give and take of information, a kind of communicative exchange…} -Behle 2009. Behle is a painter, sculptor, and founder of the St. Louis based Paul Artspace, a midwestern residency for visual artists.

Erin Rachel Hudak Born in Stow, Ohio in 1978, Erin Rachel Hudak creates collages, paintings and sculptures that discuss ideas of freedom, power, perception and transformation. Hudak’s artwork is often inspired by her personal relationship with nature juxtaposed with various histories of mans’ relationship with ‘The Land’. She received her B.F.A from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and attended Allegheny College for art and literature. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. Her artwork has been featured in Vogue Girl Korea, DailyCandy.com, Art+Culture.com, VillageVoice, Dailyserving.com, NY Daily News, Sun Valley Magazine, and The Brooklyn Eagle. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

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