Recent Works by New York Artist Hunt Slonem on View at Serge Sorokko Gallery

An exhibition of recent works by leading New York artist Hunt Slonem will be on view July 29 through August 30 at Serge Sorokko Gallery, 231 Grant Avenue in San Francisco. The exhibition includes more than 30 paintings of the exotic, tropical birds that share Slonem's Soho studio and have been the subject of his paintings since the early 1980's.

Slonem's recent oils depict the brilliantly-colored parrots, toucans and other rare species of the world's rain forests behind the patterned grid of their cages. His images are a plea to the viewer to look at these creatures before they disappear from the planet. Poet and critic John Ashbery observes, "From the narrow confines of his grids, half cage, half perch, Slonem summons dazzling explosions of the variable life around us that needs only to be looked at in order to spring into being.

Slonem's decentralized compositions of forms, rendered in loose, gestural strokes, are anchored by the latticed lines of the grid, scored with a paintbrush handle in the wet paint. The cross-hatched lines integrate the imagery and tie it to the stippled, impressionist surface.

The bird imagery evolved from Slonem's early paintings of saints inspired by his travels in Latin America, as well as the influence of naturalist painters such as Audubon. As he points out, however, while Audubon shot hundreds of birds to provide the subjects for his paintings, Slonem cares for more than 70 pet birds in his legendary loft, taking two hours a day each morning just to feed them all.

So enmeshed and unique are his aviary, studio, lifstyle and painting, that Slonem has been featured on television a dozen times and in numerous articles. Since 1977 he has exhibited at galleries and museums internationally, and his work is included in major public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Solomom R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.; and Mills College Gallery, Oakland. He recently received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.