Hybrid Figure, 1977<img alt="" src="/sites/GovernorsMansion/Exhibitions/PublishingImages/Art-of-Illinois/Hunt-Hybrid-Figure.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />Hybrid Figure, 1977<div class="ExternalClassC4947627AD8944DBAF319D8103628994"><p>​<em>Hybrid Figure </em>typifies the abstract sculptures of Richard Hunt in its use of metal's tensile strength to evoke graceful, soaring movement and ephemerality as well as power and stability. His goal, says the artist, is "a resolution of the tensions between the sense of freedom one has in contemplating nature and the sometimes restrictive, closed feeling engendered by the rigors of the city."1 This work is one of several from a long-running series in which the title word "hybrid" suggests the combination of organic and industrial forms. Emerging from the work's integrated base, its upright and branching elements dynamically engage surrounding space as they hint simultaneously at a standing figure with outspread arms, the wings of a bird or an aircraft, and fingers of flame. Like a utilitarian product of industry, the steel sculpture's dark surface bears marks of the welding and burnishing processes used to create it, honoring the expressive role of the artist's hand in the creative act. </p><p>Born on Chicago's South Side, Hunt began his art education as a seventh-grader in the junior program of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he later earned a fine arts degree. To save on the cost of materials, he began constructing sculptures from scrap metal and other discarded objects. Hunt received early recognition as an artist: New York's Museum of Modern Art bought one of his works when he was still a student, and in 1971 he was the first African American sculptor to have a major solo exhibition at the museum. Over the past five decades, Hunt has created numerous monumental public works of art, in addition to smaller free-standing or wall-hung sculptures and drawings. His <em>Hybrid Muse </em>of 1985 appears in the logo of the Illinois Arts Council Agency.</p></div>GP0|#f8170408-f814-4e57-908b-3e33f85365f4;L0|#0f8170408-f814-4e57-908b-3e33f85365f4|Richard Hunt;GTSet|#6a9f5109-021d-478a-ae73-864102492159;GPP|#9d68cbd3-25f3-49f0-8924-6cbe6cdb2f21;GPP|#be65f490-4890-487c-bb16-c396d99511f7Sculpture;#TemporarySculpture;#Welded Corten steel, 64 × 32 × 26 inches Illinois Legacy Collection, Illinois State Museum, Museum Purchase through funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and Illinois Arts Council