In the rural midwest there is a certain clarity to the light and air - a monotonous landscape populated by vast tracts of wheat, corn, and soybeans, spare dirt roads, and the occasional weather-beaten grain elevator. Andrew Hostick’s drawings are distinctly evocative of Ohio’s understated landscapes and closely connected history of labor and perseverance.
Hostick’s current solo exhibition and Yellow at Western Exhibitions includes a selection of 11 works completed over the past several years. Unframed, these intimate graphite and colored pencil drawings are mounted directly on the wall, allowing viewers to experience the salient physicality of their surfaces without a barrier.
Born in 1962, Andrew Hostick has maintained a creative practice at Visionaries + Voices’ Cincinnati studio since 2010. Facilitators who work closely with Hostick offer insight into his typical studio routine:
Andrew begins his art-making process from observing printed art historical references and advertisements. He usually starts drawing right away, or else looks for inspiration in books, magazines, and objects around studio. He then abstracts and simplifies the imagery, carefully balancing color relationships. He’ll have a few unfinished pieces that circle around his space but he does tend to focus on one piece at a time, spending anywhere from a few days to a few weeks on each piece.
Quiet and focused, Hostick burnishes the surface through a repetitive and forceful application of marks. Every choice is recorded and the picture plane is defined by this history of labor and mark-making; abbreviated graphite lines are left visible within expansive fields of color and half-erasures veiled in milky white or vibrant yellow remain debossed in the mat board. Hostick’s more prominent graphite lines are long and complex, changing directions many times before the pencil leaves the surface. Hostick doesn’t appear to strive for illustrative finesse or the objectivity of representation, leaving the artist exposed in a way that reflects an unassuming conviction. He diligently outlines the contours of negative spaces and flat fruits or vessels in the foreground with equal priority. Rather than describing imagery or form, he divides the surface into complex, interlocking shapes which abstract the reference composition without its content.
In addition to a handful of Hostick’s loose renditions of abstract works by Thomas Downing, Peter Halley, and Gary Komarin borrowed from gallery advertisements, this small-scale series of drawings is largely based on still life paintings (without being still lifes themselves). http/billsharp.fileswordpress.com StillLife is based on Yellow Still Life, a painting by Bill Sharp which is found at a url similar the one indicated by the title. Seeking out the obscure source offers an opportunity to see what Hostick carries over, what he doesn't, and how. His interest seems to linger in the surface of the painting itself, drawing contours not of the objects in the painting, but of Sharp’s heavy brushstrokes. He captures, and even intensifies, a sense of three-dimensional space. While the overall effect of the painting remains present, Hostick’s process generates a far more complex composition.
Much like Marlon Mullen and Helen Rae, the essential nature of Hostick’s process is to reinterpret carefully selected found imagery through entirely different visual priorities. Deviating from the original, Hostick’s resolved commitment to a specific palette across all of the works is a choice that feels utilitarian. His go-to materials are colored pencils of a particular blue, green, black, white, red, orange, and of course, yellow. These drawings don't employ abstraction in order to alter the source, but instead deconstruct and interpret. It becomes clear that Hostick’s translations are a means to an end, and the intention of his drawings is entirely different than those of his references. While engaged in a broader pursuit of visual ideas, Hostick ultimately produces an intricate and compelling body of work that clearly communicates his distinctive vision.
and Yellow continues at Western Exhibitions in Chicago through August 31st. Hostick has exhibited previously in a solo show at Morgan Lehman Gallery in New York City (2017), The Carnegie in Covington, KY, Outsider Art Fair in NYC with Morgan Lehman (2016), EXPO Chicago with Western Exhibitions (2015), and Studio Visions: Recent Works from Visionaries + Voices and Studioworks at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in Louisville, KY (2013).