Figures, landscapes & time
by Peter Hutton
'Three Landscapes', 2013 exhibition view of 'Figures, Landscapes & Time' by Peter Hutton, La Loge, Brussels 2013


The collection of seven films presented in the exhibition at La Loge represents over three decades of work by American independent filmmaker Peter Hutton. The exhibition features a number of early works including Boston Fire (1979) and Landscape (for Manon) (1986-87) and traces the artist's oeuvre through to the present. The main highlight of the exhibition is the debut of Hutton's latest films, Three Landscapes (2013) and At Sea (2004-2007) in the form of an installation.  
Throughout his career, Hutton has used film to capture subtle moments in time in a way that reflects a powerful, contemplative method of viewing the world. In each of his films, he positions himself as a witness; he uses the camera to make a record of chosen landscapes filmed from a distance. Therefore, a tangible line can be felt in his films, separating the filmmaker from the reality that he is filming. His entire body of work results from patient observation as opposed to constructing a manipulated or staged reality.
Before becoming a filmmaker, Hutton spent a decade living and working on large merchant ships. He paid his way through art school with the money he earned at sea. The experience of witnessing the world by boat undeniably forged the artist’s sense of looking as a means of experiencing time and reality with a more intense focus on the subtleties of vision. The artist explains that, “there’s a kind of culture of survival when you’re out at sea, where you have to develop a kind of visual acuity to know where you are going and what’s happening.” Another defining aspect of Hutton’s work is his early artistic career as a painter. Though the artist abandoned painting for film in the mid-1970s, his films convey a visual connection to the methodologies of painting. As Hutton describes, film is “about painting with the language of cinema.”
Born in Detroit and a current resident of the Hudson River Valley, Hutton’s personal connection to specific places is evident in his work. His long appreciation for the beauty of the Hudson River Valley is expressed in a number of his films including Landscape (for Manon), Study for a River and Three Landscapes. His cinematic treatment of this area has been linked to the mid-19th century painting of the Hudson River School, an American art movement known for romantic depictions of the natural landscape surrounding the Hudson River. Often using his daily life as inspiration, Hutton believes in the adage that truth is stranger than fiction.
Hutton’s oeuvre consists of a rich collection of over twenty films that portray a sense of meditative timelessness. The seamless movement of man and nature appear as continuous forces untouched by time.

Curator: Anne-Claire Schmitz 
About the artist
Peter Hutton received his BFA and MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Hutton has taught at CalArts, Hampshire College and Harvard University. He currently teaches at Bard College. In 2008, his work was the subject of a retrospective at MoMA. His films have been featured in a number of international film festivals including New York, Vienna, Rotterdam, London and Toronto. His work has also been exhibited at the Whitney Biennial (1985, 1991, 1995, 2004), George Eastman House, Museum of Contemporary Art Oslo, among others. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, DAAD/Berliner Künstlerprogramm, Rockefeller Foundation, etc. His work can be found in the collection of many museums including MoMA, Centre Pompidou and the Austrian Film Museum.