70 1/8 x 60 1/8 in
The genesis of these black and white paintings is to be found in Hubbard’s initial training in abstract expressionism and his early sympathies with the likes of Pollock, Motherwell, Brooks and Kline. They are redolent of an artist in transition, finding a compromise between hard-edged abstraction and representation, as he forged his own way. Hubbard of course made charcoal drawings throughout his lengthy career, and some early examples are included in our new exhibition. There is a distinct graphic quality found in these early paintings and a link to Hubbard’s affinity with the calligraphic art of the Far East. In his text published in 1981 for Hubbard’s exhibition at the Warwick Arts Trust, Bryan Robertson recounts how Hubbard was posted to Japan where he stayed until 1956. “At Harvard he had also studied Japanese and Chinese painting, gardens and architecture, but was equally absorbed by the relationship between work and life in Japan, and by landscape or bird or flower painting in black and white. In Chinese art this is the area which also interested Hubbard the most; and as a whole he prefers Chinese to Japanese art.” Indeed, Hubbard also noted that he liked the “Chinese idea of allowing a subject to absorb you... and then be assayed in a spontaneous, animated way, so as to preserve a sense of life.” Hubbard’s black and white paintings certainly do that. They enthral now just as they did when they were first painted more than fifty years ago.