New Grass

John Hubbard (1931 - 2017)

Oil on canvas

1966

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  • About the work
    In this poetic, light-filled abstract painting, the solid thrust of the bar or blade to the left of the composition is an effective counterpoint to the swirling mass of lighter coloured brushstrokes to the right of the work. Texture is an important factor, with the surface revealing traces of impasto where the paint has been thickly applied. Rather than being a literal representation of a specific place or activity, the work evokes a sense of the light, colour and movement of grass being cut as we might experience it within a landscape. Conveying this sense or feel of a landscape, what he saw as ‘its essence and physical presence’ was a key concern of Hubbard’s.  The abstract splashes and strokes of colour in New Grass bring together his own inspiration from nature with stylistic influences from American Abstract Expressionism. Hubbard’s paintings are distinctive for their sweeping areas of colour, created by rapid brushstrokes that move dynamically across the work. The energy of the artist’s brush is often revealed through splashes and drips of paint, recalling the action paintings of the American artist Jackson Pollock.
  • About the artist
    American-born John Hubbard grew up in Connecticut and studied at Harvard University. While on military service (1953 and 1956) during the Korean War, he was stationed in Japan, where he developed an interest in the art from Japan and East Asia more generally. This grew into an admiration of the traditions of Taoism and Zen; philosophies he equated with the act of abstract painting. He has cited Xie He, the sixth century Chinese painter who wrote: ‘In art, the terms ancient and modern have no place’ – a thought that speaks clearly to the modern abstract painter’s inspiration from wide and eclectic sources.Hubbard studied in New York at the Art Students League from 1956–58. He spent time also working with Hans Hoffmann, an influential abstract painter whose associations with Picasso, Matisse and Braque in Paris in the 1930s, brought those influences to the emerging number of Abstract Expressionist artists in New York. Hubbard moved to England in 1960, settling in Dorset and associating with the St Ives art circle. His painting became infused with light, inspired by the open land and seascapes of Cornwall, Scotland and later, Morocco and Spain. Hubbard participated in residencies in America and Malaysia and, in 1996, won the Jerwood Prize in Britain. In recent years his work has explored the theme of gardens, and he has completed several garden and painting commissions for public and private organisations.
  • Explore
    Places
    Subjects
    abstract, grass
    Materials & Techniques
    canvas, oil, oil painting
  • Details
    Title
    New Grass
    Date
    1966
    Medium
    Oil on canvas
    Dimensions
    height: 101.50 cm, width: 117.00 cm
    Acquisition
    Purchased from the New Art Centre, June 1966
    Inscription
    bl: John Hubbard / 1966
    GAC number
    7467