Robert H. Hudson (American, born 1938)
Crocker Art Museum Purchase, with funds from McCuen & Steele, Inc.
Robert Hudson studied at the San Francisco Art Institute during the early 1960s, a period when the second wave of Abstract Expressionism and Bay Area Figuration dominated the curriculum. In pursuing sculpture, he found special encouragement from faculty member Manuel Neri and sought to create large sculptures of welded steel. Like Neri, he aimed in sculpture to create a dialogue with Expressionism and Figuration and began to paint his metal assemblages with bold colors. Hudson then added found objects, such as the distinctive antlers of Outrigger, to his works. Such sculptures are seemingly irrational in their construction. Symmetry is avoided, and the sense of instability intentional. The title of this work, a word describing projecting supports on either boats or aircraft, is suggested by the way the sculptural elements curve around and then thrust from the core lattice. Hudson particularly enjoyed the disjuncture between the flat and the fully round, which his decorative painting enhanced. Treating the surface as a canvas, especially a patterned canvas, Hudson flattens forms and draws attention to specific zones, yet the final result is open and full of movement as called for by the tenets of 20th-century Modernist sculpture. —EA/DD