Today we’d like to introduce you to Gerard Huber.
Gerard, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
From my earliest memories, all I ever wanted to do was to make Art. I never had any thoughts of becoming a policeman or a fireman. I spent all my free time either drawing or modeling clay.
My earliest inspiration was watching my Father draw the comic characters from the Sunday morning newspaper while I sat in his lap. I was enthralled with his amazing ability to do that and I wanted to be able to do the same. There were several occasions after that when my Father played a critical role in my becoming an artist– encouraging me, praising my efforts, showing my work to extended family, enrolling me in art classes at the Civic Art Center, and opening whatever doors he could to help my progress along that path. He took my first painting (a copy of DaVinci’s last supper that I created from leftover colors from a paint-by-number kit) to the nun who taught Art at my elementary school and asked her if she thought I had any potential to be an artist. Apparently, she did because she then took me on for individual instruction.
I received my B.A. degree in Painting and Printmaking from the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa, in 1971, and my M.F.A. degree in Painting and Drawing from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in 1975. Immediately after graduation I moved to Texas to join the faculty in the Department of Art at Texas A&M University-Commerce (then East Texas State University) in Commerce, Texas. I am a tenured, full professor, beginning my 42nd year of teaching at TAMUC. The philosophy of the Art department maintains that continuous professional activity in your discipline is the only way to retain competency and currency, so we are evaluated annually on our exhibition activity, and our teaching schedule is arranged to provide maximum time for studio research.
I have always maintained an active studio practice, exhibiting in national and international shows. It is through this activity that I was invited to join the Lizardi Harp Gallery in Los Angeles, California, nearly twenty years ago. Grady Harp, the Director, has been very generous in his support of my work, and he has been instrumental in introducing me to professionals across the country like Eric Gibbons, who authored two national publications in which my paintings were included.
My husband of thirty-five years, Dr. Russell Dunckley, a psychologist in private practice here in Dallas, is the “Rock” of my life. He is my advisor, my guide, my muse, my biggest support and my harshest critic. He knows what I need long before I do, so new technology will show up in my studio (e.g., high definition TV screens and digital projectors) before I am aware that it might be useful in my work. He plans and prepares ahead. He keeps me grounded and focused through gentle prodding and questioning. I truly don’t know what I would do without him. He could have been a fantastic artist or interior designer himself if he hadn’t elected to go into psychology. His clients have benefitted from his decision to go into the mental health field, but I benefit in amazing ways from his hidden talents and aesthetic sensibility.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The most significant challenge of my career has been overcoming the stigma associated with any depictions of the male nude. Nudes in general pose a challenge in a society that automatically equates prurient interests with any depiction of the flesh, male or female.
I am very drawn to the approach of the ancient Greeks, who thought of nudity as embodying a sense of wholeness. Far from being merely carnal in nature, the Greeks believed that exterior physical perfection indicated internal spiritual perfection. It was also a hallmark of genuineness and a lack of pretense. In Western civilization, evil has been identified with the flesh so closely that the only way a nude body could be depicted was if it was being abused, punished or mutilated–a sort of sadomasochistic expiation of an unconscious guilt about merely having a body.
One of my goals is to challenge this modern contempt for the fully nude male figure, which is thought to be at best embarrassing and at worst indecent. My work is instead a celebration of the beauty of the physical and spiritual body. My intent is to invite the viewer through the sensuality of my paintings — color, texture, light and illusionistic form — to confront their own beliefs and values about the naked body and to resolve for themselves the question of good and evil regarding nudity in general, and male nudity in particular.
Gerard Huber, Artist – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am a visual artist creating original, one-of-a-kind hyper-realistic/super-realistic paintings. My medium is airbrushed acrylic paint on panel, and my imagery is photographically derived, although no longer strictly photo-realistic. I “collage” diverse photographic elements into a single seamless narrative statement.
The imagery in my paintings has evolved from an exclusive still life object orientation to a focus on the male nude in domestic settings which include decorative objects and trompe l’oeil (fool the eye) elements.
My paintings have been included in over 100 national and international exhibitions.
My paintings have been included in several publications:
2014 “The Art of Man/Fine Art of the Male Form”, Firehouse Studio Publications, Edition 18, Pp.16-25.
2011 “100 Artists of the Male Figure: A Contemporary Anthology of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture”, by E. Gibbons, Schiffer Publishing Ltd. Pp. 88, 89 with images and references to my work included in the Introduction by Grady Harp — “The Reprise of the Male Figure”.
2009 “Powerfully Beautiful” Classically Inspired Living Painters of the Male Figure, by E. Gibbons, Firehouse Studio Publications.
I participated in the Visiting Artist/Visiting Scholar program at The American Academy in Rome for one month in 2015 and in 2013.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I’ve had many proud moments in my career beginning with receiving my Master of Fine Arts degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Cranbrook is the top graduate school for Visual Art in the country, sometimes characterized as the “Julliard” of visual art schools. With a maximum annual enrollment of 150 graduate students, getting into Cranbrook is a highly selective process.
I have been extremely proud of bringing George Ortman (my mentor from Cranbrook) and Don Eddy, (an internationally famous airbrushing photo-realist artist whom I met at Blossom-Kent Art Program) to Texas A&M University-Commerce (formerly East Texas State University) as Visiting Artists.
I am proud to have been associated with the Lizardi Harp Gallery in Los Angeles for nearly years. Grady Harp, the Director, has been a pioneer in fearlessly exhibiting and promoting artists who work with the male nude in their artworks.
I am proud of receiving a National Endowment for the Arts/Mid-America Arts Alliance Fellowship in Painting in 1994. This Fellowship allowed me to travel extensively in Europe to study ancient Greco-Roman sculpture which has been a passion of mine since grade school, and which has played a significant role in my painting imagery.
I am proud of receiving fellowships to several art colonies over the years. I have twice been a resident at the Virginia Center for the Creative Art at Sweet Briar, Virginia. I have been a resident at Cummington Community for the Arts at Cummington, Massachusetts, and at the Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, Vermont. I have also been a Visiting Artist/Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome for two month-long residencies.
But perhaps the achievement of which I am most proud is that earlier this year I was notified by the International Society of Acrylic Painters that for the first time they had designated seven painters around the world, who are members of that society, as Signature Master Painters and I was fortunate to be included in that group.
- Address: 3500 Oak Lawn Avenue, Suite 275,
Dallas, Texas 75219
- Website: www.gerardhuber.com
- Phone: (214) 528-5167
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org