White Columns is pleased to present a display of recent collages in the gallery’s reception area by the Oakland-based artist John Hiltunen. This is Hiltunen’s first exhibition.
John Hiltunen – like Aurie Ramirez, whose work we are showing concurrently - works at the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, CA.
Creative Growth is a world-renowned workshop and art studio for adult artists with mental and developmental disabilities. Since 2005 White Columns has collaborated on a series of exhibitions by artists affiliated with Creative Growth, including solo exhibitions by Aurie Ramirez, William Scott, Dan Miller, Judith Scott, and John Albertsen. Additionally we have shown work by these and other Creative Growth-affiliated artists in exhibitions and projects in Philadelphia, Miami, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, Berlin, and at other venues in New York. Writing about his recent encounter with Hiltunen’s collages, White Columns Director Matthew Higgs has said:
“Earlier this month ago I was visiting the Bay Area for the opening of ‘Create’, an exhibition that I co-curated with Larry Rinder for the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. ‘Create’ includes works by twenty artists affiliated with three visionary Bay Area organizations that support artists with mental and developmental disabilities: Creative Growth (Oakland), Creativity Explored (San Francisco), and the National Institute of Art and Disabilities (Richmond, CA). During my trip I visited the Creative Growth Art Center – an organization that I have collaborated with on many projects over the past eight years – where I encountered John Hiltunen’s extraordinary collages for the first time. Deceptively straightforward Hiltunen’s collages, which typically collide animal and human subjects, mostly derived from fashion and natural history magazines, invoke a historical lineage that includes Hannah Hoch’s Dada provocations and Linder’s more recent, but equally sardonic juxtapositions. If all collage work invokes a sense of violence – via the physical acts of cutting and dismemberment – Hiltunen tempers this dynamic through his uncanny deployment of humor, creating works that ultimately maintain a tension between their evident likeability and a palpable sense of something being amiss. Seeing the works I felt that it was important for them to be seen be a wider audience, hence their presentation – three weeks later - at White Columns.” – Matthew Higgs, May 2011.
John Hiltunen (b. 1949) lives and works in Fremont, California. He has worked at Creative Growth since 2003, and in 2007 participated in Paul Butler’s ‘Collage Party’ at Creative Growth.