Look, Listen and Respond: Riley Holloway, Sedrick Huckaby

26 June - 31 July 2021

The title of the duo exhibition 'Look, Listen and Respond' by Sedrick Huckaby and Riley Holloway refers to the moment of time when someone has to contemplate, when being confronted with new ways of seeing. Sedrick Huckaby is an American artist whose practice explores themes of community and tradition through figurative painting. Within oil painting, Huckaby seeks to reveal the Afro-American cultural landscape of his own community by creating connections between the past and the present. In his portraits, his Texan background is often a reference, both conceptually and pictorially which investigates the cultural link between his subjects and himself. Sedrick Huckaby was commissioned by George W. Bush to paint his portrait, after Bush has studied painting with Huckaby. 


Portrait painting used to successfully depict the unmistakable individuality of a person. In the past, it was an art form reserved for the privileged and affluent few. Photography offered an opportunity to identify a broad section of society’s personal reality. Huckaby has developed his individual painting practice, often confronting the viewer with a direct, frontal expression. In the exhibition Look, Listen and Respond, the figures are isolated, covered by anonymity, yet represent a moment of contemplation. Dissatisfied with the inability of such images to represent the complexity of the historical moment, Huckaby created large format paintings  where he was using motifs for his paintings on photographs — the view itself— contained just such a complexity. Here was a place with its own history that could be coaxed into an image by deliberate observation and execution, a place that bore the marks of history and psychology in the people and facial expressions of individuals.


Sedrick Huckaby, born 1975 in Fort Worth,Texas, US, lives and works in Fort Worth, Texas. He attended Texas Wesleyan University where he studied under Ron Tomlinson and Jack Barnett, then transferred to Boston University, and received his MFA from Yale University in 1999. Huckaby has been the recipient of numerous awards including a Guggenheim award, Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, and a Lewis Comfort Tiffany Award. His works are in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, African American Museum, Dallas, Texas; McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas; Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York; among others. 


Riley Holloway is best known for his dynamic practice with text and image, his perspective of wandering thoughts, fears and struggle, and for speaking his mind with traditional drawing and oil painting techniques on canvas. Riley Holloway’s portraits have the canny sense of representing us and not-us. He began to see the importance in life of taking emotional experiences and situations, often times difficult, repurposing them to process and speak with figurative painting. The images are an engaging mixture of observation, tranquility, rage, motion and stillness, a distillation of the artist’s contradictions in seeing the world, in the observation of the Afro-American landscape of today. 


Riley Holloway, born 1989 in Los Angeles, US, lives and works in Dallas, Texas. Holloway attended The Art Institute of Dallas and the Florence Academy of Art, where he focused on traditional drawing and oil painting techniques. His works are in the collections of the University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, US Stanford University, Stanford, CA, US, the Dean collection, among others.



Text: Katharina Balgavy