A Reverence for Rabbits

Cobalt, Hunt Slonem

T.S. Eliot said that “April is the cruelest month,” but for those of us who emotionally connect with rabbits — and have aged out of the Easter Bunny — the magical spring appearance of Eastern cottontails, visible on local trails and in our own backyards, brings an undeniable comfort. 

And what’s better than a long-eared hare spotted here and there? Well, naturally, a whole cluster of them, charging the viewer head on in a whirl of wild, comic dignity. That’s what happens in the work of Neo-expressionist luminary Hunt Slonem, exclusively represented in Asheville by Bender Gallery.

Slonem is known for the blazing superfluity of like animals in his signature paintings; a peer of Andy Warhol, he was influenced by the ’70s New York art milieu in which he gained his own name and also, more brilliantly, by his boyhood stints living in Nicaragua and Hawaii, from whence rise his glorious depictions of tropical winged creatures. (Slonem has called his practice of visual repetition a kind of prayer or worship.)

“Bender Gallery is pleased to bring the exotic maximalist world of this internationally celebrated artist to Asheville,” says Bernadette Bender, who owns the eponymous gallery with her husband Miles. She acknowledges that “Slonem is best known for his series of bunnies, butterflies, and tropical birds,” but also for his “large-scale sculptures and restorations of forgotten historic homes.” His artworks, she continues, “can be found in the permanent collections of more than 250 museums around the world, including the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney, the Miró Foundation, and many more.”

— Ed.

Bender Gallery Contemporary Fine Art & Sculpture, 29 Biltmore Ave., Asheville. 828-505-8341. For more information, see bendergallery.com. (Also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.)

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