E.K. Huckaby explains “Anhydjinnic Molassicism”

New exhibit encourages viewers to create their own reality

E.K. Huckaby’s new exhibition, Anhydjinnic Molassicism, at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia encourages viewers to find their own meaning when looking at the works. “We each create our own reality and the imagination prefers dialogue to orders,” says Huckaby, a 2013/2014 Working Artist Project (WAP) winner.

With more than 30 years of experience under his belt, Brooks, Ga.-based Huckaby is famous for creating his own color pigments and paint mixes that often lead to Gothic-style oil paintings, and for playing with dark shadows and found images. His work has been shown at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, and Poem88, among others. Here Huckaby talks to Creative Loafing about trust, communicating through painting, and working with found images.

How has your experience been working as a WAP winner?

This has been an extraordinary experience and an opportunity to enhance my themes and production. The project has also provided me with an excellent [studio apprentice], Kaye Patton, and there has been a generous provision for materials from Binders Art [Supplies and Frames].

What does Anhydjinnic Molassicism mean?

The slow, sweet study of unclean spirits. This is an elaborate way of describing the act of painting, which itself is an elaborate way of communicating; at least the way I do it. Full circle, promenade left.

There’s an intrinsic spookiness in some of your works. What’s the overall theme of the show?

This exhibition, like all my solo presentations at Poem88, has a theme which obliquely underscores the work. I am referencing the intangible aspects of the paintings and objects and prefer to share their reading with the viewer rather than assert a message.

Where did you find your inspiration for this show?

Keeping concepts porous and trusting the irrational to become practical. Many aspects of the exhibition came from treating the common or ignoble as subjects of interest, such as the careful study of a bucket. There is also a reticence to show subjects usually valorized, so trophies are in heavy shadows, and the noble horse is instead a mule, or only bones, or a pantomime horse instead.

You are a chef of sorts as you prepare your own paints and pigments for your works. ...

There are over fifty different resins, oils, solvents, and other materials I use to produce the paint body, in addition to any colors. These combine to [form] different results, and if you apply this approach to culinary practice then we have an understanding.

You’ve worked with found images from previous centuries in other exhibitions. Did you do so this time around?

Yes, many of these paintings are composed from different photographic sources with shifting contexts, and a few are based on my backyard. Both are ways [to] relate to moments in time that can express a different story and keep their own truth.

You say on your artist statement that this exhibition is about the viewer, yet not to trust the exhibition itself. Do you hope ... viewers can achieve their own conclusion about what the [works mean]? Is this something you think about when creating them?

Without exception. I hope the viewers will find a moment in each piece that appeals to their perspective, yet I am aware that sometimes the best experience comes from encountering work that we seriously dislike.