Very Truly Yours, new work by Erin Hüber
Every year, Erin Hüber sets goals for herself. Last year, she focused on paper cutting. But this year? “My goal is to paint,” she told me, “I don't feel that people know me as a painter - or that I even paint at all. But I do.” With this goal in mind, Erin’s show “Very Truly Yours” walks us through historic Indianapolis in oil on canvas.
Erin felt “compelled to pick up the brush” in a desire to mingle with the past in a more in-depth way than through paper cutting. Inspired by recently inheriting boxes brimming with old family photos as well as the history of Delaware Street, her paintings portray turn-of-the-century parlors, kitchens, and dining rooms as well as streets and homes from the period.
“I feel it is important to always remember what was - or who was here before we were,” she explains, “We are all connected somehow.” Erin even did some fieldwork, seeking out landmarks in her family photos “just to take a moment and stand where they once did.” As she made these paintings, they became more than documents of a by-gone Indianapolis. Erin includes herself in the past by painting it, and in that way, connects with and remembers it.
Mothering and womanhood remain central to this body of work. Erin puts women in public and private spheres, walking around familiar sights such as Erin’s favorite Delaware Street landmark, the Kemper house, or city streets. In others, women quietly sew or sit, or tend to children in quiet spaces. Erin’s compositions of interior spaces are reminiscent of Impressionist style and subject matter, but retain a mysteriousness and simplicity that keeps them contemporary.
Something else that strikes me about this body of work is the lack of people: inviting parlors and dining rooms, quaint streets and sidewalks are unpopulated. Many of these women are home alone or with children. These scenes are quiet, or at least reserved; if anything, they evoke the ticking of a grandfather clock in the foyer, or the soft clip-clop of horse hooves on an empty street.
Still, there is something indefinable that makes these pieces so arresting to me. For one thing, the paint quality and colors are warm and inviting—cozy, for lack of a better word. But more than that, they seem to invite me in, to imagine what could happen in these tranquil, unoccupied places.
The show opens Friday, February 5 in the City Gallery and hangs through February 26.