Erika Huddleston: Prairie
Artist talk and reception: March 3 (5:30-7:30 pm)
Erika Huddleston’s paintings take site and place as their subjects, specifically nature in urban public settings. Her oil paintings of the natural world stem from her training in landscape architecture; she investigates how people use outdoor space to better understand how observing changing natural processes in urban park settings can affect human psychology. Painting for long hours in “urban wilderness” settings allows time for sustained observation. All works are painted life-size at a 1:1 scale, drawn and painted as seen from a sitting or standing position in the landscape. This exhibition features Huddleston’s Landscape Recording Static/Dynamic: BRIT Blackland Prairie I-V series, painted on our prairie during the autumn of 2021.
“PRAIRIE investigates the two acre blackland prairie behind Fort Worth Botanic Garden – BRIT along University Drive— a prairie that is a palimpsest site of Trinity River floodplain, Native American lands, concrete parking lot, and prairie grasses today. Restored from concrete to planting in 2011 after the BRIT building opened in 2010, the prairie was burned to black soot in a prescribed burn in January 2021. The paintings were drawn and painted in October and November of 2021 completely on-site — first with drawing with pencil and then painting in oil. During the fall season, the sunflowers in the prairie were blooming yellow and then the blooms were almost all off by mid November. The successional growth of prairies from seed to plant to burn, back to seed, then to burn, then to seed, then to flower, informed the paintings. The five canvases record chronological time of the approach of cold weather which will then resiliently become warm spring again. Accompanying the paintings are pages of written Field Notes text which provide another layer of information about the site. Also accompanying the paintings are historical pages of botanical specimens of the plants in the paintings — pulled from the vast and renowned BRIT herbarium located on the second floor of the building with windows overlooking the prairie below. The BRIT prairie is a constructed wilderness in the middle of the city— and PRAIRIE investigates it through oil painting on-site over time — another event in the memory of the place.” – Erika Huddleston
Huddleston has a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin and a BA in Fine Arts from Vanderbilt University. Her past bodies of work have recorded Shoal Creek Greenbelt in Austin, Texas, the Trinity River in Dallas, Texas, Waco Creek in Waco, Texas, and the Ramble in Central Park in New York City. She was a finalist for the Hunting Prize and has been a resident at 100W Corsicana and the Vermont Studio Center. We thank for Artspace 111 sponsoring Huddleston’s prairie painting
image courtesy Artspace 111, Erika Huddleston, Landscape Recording Static Dynamic – Prairie at BRIT I, 2021