The writings of Jean Genet, a controversial 20th-century French author who challenged the sense of moral authority, have inspired "Purging Genet," an exhibition of paintings, ink drawings and sculpture by David Hutchinson that opens at the Lionheart Gallery Saturday, April 19.
An opening reception takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the gallery, which is just over the New Canaan border at 27 Westchester Ave. in Pound Ridge, N.Y. Hutchinson also will greet visitors and discuss his work from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 3. The exhibition runs through June 1.
Hutchinson's paintings and drawings are translations and transcriptions of Genet's writings. Originally trained as an architect, Hutchinson always was interested in philosophy, as well as art, and in the relationship between the two fields.
"I wanted to get down into the history of thinking, so I majored in philosophy and aesthetics at the New School for Social Research," he said. "Writing about Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas and under the influence of lecturer Jacques Derrida as well as philosophers Sartre and Hegel, I began to do drawings and make artist books dealing with codes and sign languages, several of which the New York Public Library bought for their Spencer Collection."
Hutchinson then began to do drawings based on the writings of Genet, seeing personal parallels, as they both were of French heritage and raised in a Catholic environment. While drawn to Genet's writings, he challenged many of his Christian/Catholic concepts. Hutchinson records Genet's writings in his French script, then he creates an overlay of the script in English, thereby "purging" the concepts by making then unrecognizable.
"When a thought is written down and another is written on top, it gradually obscures the original intention of the words and becomes something else. The final result is a transcription which purges the original meaning," Hutchinson said.
The gallery is open Wednesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For information, call 914-764-8689 or visit www.thelionheartgallery.com.