Charlie Hudson's Paintings at Soapbox Arts Take Viewers on a Journey | Visual Art | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Charlie Hudson's Paintings at Soapbox Arts Take Viewers on a Journey

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Published March 29, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated March 29, 2023 at 10:04 a.m.


From top left: "Grazing Deer," "Deer Crossing," "Children at Play" - PAMELA POLSTON ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Pamela Polston ©️ Seven Days
  • From top left: "Grazing Deer," "Deer Crossing," "Children at Play"

Though born in Sydney, Australia, and now based in New York City, Charlie Hudson arrived at the University of Vermont in 2010 and has maintained a relationship with Burlington ever since. The studio art major graduated four years later and began to exhibit his work locally and beyond. In 2019, he was part of the debut show at Soapbox Arts in the Queen City's South End Arts District. So it felt right, Soapbox owner and curator Patricia Trafton said, that Hudson should present a solo exhibit to coincide with the gallery's fourth anniversary.

"Charlie actually pitched the idea for this show to me last year," Trafton said during a gallery visit.

"Two Tree House and Barns" - PAMELA POLSTON ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Pamela Polston ©️ Seven Days
  • "Two Tree House and Barns"

That idea was a sequence of images between the places Hudson calls home. Titled "A Place I Go," the exhibit includes 22 paintings, each 24 inches square, that depict scenes on Hudson's drive from the rural vistas of Vermont to the urban environs of Brooklyn. Standing in the gallery and slowly pivoting is like taking the journey alongside the artist. (A clever animation on the Soapbox website knits them all together and duplicates the sense of looking out the window of the car.)

Trafton explained that Hudson painted his scenes on a double-wide canvas and then cut them in half. "So he would work on two paintings at a time," she said. Some duos pair more obviously than others. For example, in the Vermont sequence, "Grazing Deer" and "Deer Crossing" share a road. So do "Road Into Outta Town" and "Lights on at the Pub" in the Brooklyn section.

"Second Shift Break" - PAMELA POLSTON ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Pamela Polston ©️ Seven Days
  • "Second Shift Break"

Even after the paintings were hung in the gallery, Trafton said, Hudson tweaked a few of them to more logically segue into one other. That said, each painting also works as a stand-alone image, and buyers are welcome to choose just one.

Hudson has a pleasing imagistic style; that is, the scenes are based on reality, but his plump, confident brushstrokes and adept playfulness with color enliven them. His landscapes are curvaceous and slightly impressionistic; the brick-by-brick composition of Brooklyn's built environment shows his observant attention to detail. Even the skies shift between the Green Mountain and Empire states: Floofy, multicolored clouds transition to vertical stripes of deep blue — symbolic of Manhattan skyscrapers in the distance.

Hudson's visual travelogue is well worth a journey to Soapbox Arts.

"A Place I Go" is on view through April 22. Learn more at soapboxarts.com.

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