Focus on artist Nick Hunt

From VSA and writer Nathan Segura: a close look at VSA and artist Nick Hunt's “Study of 9mm”

In “9mm” artist Nick Hunt presents us with six squares of aluminum, each of a different color and shot with a nine millimeter pistol. Although his installation calls to mind discussions about the Second Amendment and the place of guns within American, Hunt moves the dialogue away from national politics as he artfully comments on the idea of taking blows as an artist himself. He treats his colorful squares as the artistic self, full of imagination and prospects, that life’s challenges hit and damage. The various sizes of bullet holes seen throughout the aluminum panels stand for the different punches an artist takes in. Hunts recalls that he shot the green square “in the back” after it fell to the ground. It is important to point out, however, that each piece is painted with six layers of different paint. Thus, the impact of the bullet reveals different colors. As a result, rather than seemingly destroying the pieces, the bullets give character to their surface by, literally, adding depth and texture to it. The idea of adding to art by taking away from it was best exemplified by American painter Robert Rauschenberg who in 1953 intentionally erased a painting executed by Abstract Expressionist Williem DeKooning. Through his own sensibility, Hunt engages with Rauschenberg’s conviction that subtracting and erasing can, ironically, bring in substance and value.