Clark Hulings Centennial Launches Virtual Exhibition of 100 Hulings Paintings Demonstrating How Videogaming Technology Illuminates the World of Fine Art

American realist painter Clark Hulings taught himself Photoshop when he was 82. So, celebrating his centennial by mounting an online exhibition of Hulings’ paintings demonstrating how advanced Virtual Reality technology has become, is an adventure Hulings would enthusiastically support.

Elizabeth Hulings of The Clark Hulings Foundation is partnering with Seth Hopkins, Executive Director of The Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, GA (a Smithsonian Affiliate); and digital designer Jeremiah “Flip” Benjamin, of Hollywood research and development lab, 88 Ideas, to do just that. Supporting their initiative is Creative/Strategic Consultant Christopher Scott. Christopher is guiding the project’s mission to bring The Clark Hulings Foundation into a new virtual universe by building distinct, fully realized three-dimensional environments based on the works of Clark Hulings to provide the view with “what lies beyond the frame.”

This partnership’s first project is an online gallery of 100 Hulings paintings, Hulings Golden 100 Paintings for 100 Years – VR Exhibition, as part of the year-long celebration of the artist’s life and work, to be previewed at the Hulings’ Centennial Birthday Party in Santa Fe, NM, November 20th.

The Clark Hulings Foundation was an online innovator long before the Covid pandemic, training working artists to manage the business aspects of their careers through live streaming events, 1-1 mentorship, The Thriving Artist™ podcast, and a Virtual Campus of over 140 courses.

With this virtual Centennial Exhibition, the Foundation broadens its engagement with the “metaverse,” to evolve traditional online gallery formats. Employing some of the most powerful tools of the cybergaming industry, including photorealistic animation, three-dimensional content, and advanced digital image generation, aspects of the exhibit will demonstrate the capacity to immerse audiences in realistic, interactive experiences that can propel them into an artwork, beneath the surface of a canvas and beyond its frame.

Curated by Booth Museum Executive Director, Seth Hopkins, and Clark Hulings’ daughter Elizabeth, the VR exhibit offers a chronological journey through Hulings’ artistic career.

Hulings’ Golden 100 Paintings for 100 Years – VR Exhibition begins with a survey of the subjects tackled by Clark Hulings. Portraits of his father, wife, daughter, and dog set the stage. Hulings’ early Western work led to a mischaracterization as a “Western Artist” which followed him after he won the very first Prix de West exhibition in 1972.

To showcase his position as a master painter of international significance, the exhibit then presents an overview of his travels around the world, capturing its lands, people, street scenes, and markets. The online virtual reality walk-through then reveals Hulings’ paean to the spirit of ordinary working men and women in every setting, portraying their determination and their pride.

Hulings Golden 100 Paintings for 100 Years – VR Exhibition concludes in a single gallery, with a single painting. An iconic Hulings work, The Pink Parasol, portrays a woman as she leaves a street market in rural Oaxaca, Mexico, carrying her basket and sheltering from the sun.

This painting, which last sold for $170,000 at auction 10 years ago, is the ideal environment to display how digital gaming technology can expand both the intent and content of an artwork for viewers.

Using historical images available in the Hulings archive, the woman with the pink parasol becomes a three-dimensional photorealistic animated figure, turning to face the viewer and moving through, and beyond, the painting to reveal herself, and Oaxaca, as the artist saw both.

In this early iteration of the CHF VR development, The Pink Parasol Lady is presented as a single fully realized character within the gallery space. Her presence conveys the ability to transport the audience, and with them, characters originally two-dimensional, into shared, three-dimensional space.

This demonstration of engagement and interaction within a work of art forecasts a multitude of applications enhancing education, entertainment, fundraising, and business development. The Pink Parasol Lady is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, signaling how fine art and the already highly advanced technology of cybergaming can collaborate.

Blending art, archival history, and advanced digital technology, the exhibit explores how the excitement generated by the in-person, immersive Van Gogh Experience can be achieved for online audiences and expanded to give artists a place of shared engagement to participate and contribute as part of The Clark Hulings Foundation 2nd Century (2C) Initiative.

During the Santa Fe Centennial Celebration at La Fonda on the Plaza, November 20th the virtual exhibit will be demonstrated by Seth Hopkins, Executive Director of the Booth.

Then, on December 1st, at the conclusion of the Virtual edition of the Centennial Celebration, Hulings Golden 100 Paintings for 100 Years – VR Exhibition will go live on the Internet for all to experience. The Virtual Centennial Celebration will also feature a screening of a new Hulings documentary, cocktail recipes for the home party, and the wrap up of the silent auction. Virtual Celebration guests will enjoy an M/C, be able to meet participants from around the world and will receive a Proof of Attendance Protocol (NFT), a unique digital collectible.

Additional Details about, and reservations for, the November 20th Santa Fe Gala, and the Virtual Party & opening of the exhibition on Dec 1st, are available at clarkhulingsfoundation.org/hulings100

Media Interviews can be arranged with:
Clark Hulings’ daughter, Elizabeth;
Booth Western Art Museum Executive Director Seth Hopkins;
88 Ideas Digital Designer “Flip” Benjamin;
Creative And Strategy Consultant Christopher Scott;
Board member and former director of the Mizel Museum, Denver, Ellen Premack;
James D. Balestrieri, the author of his soon to be published scholarly monograph.

To arrange an interview, contact:
Penelope C. Thomas, CHF Communications and Partnership Director,
917 679 0755 or penelope@clarkhulingsfoundation.org

Arrangements to Attend the November 20th Celebration as covering media; additional information; and high-resolution images; contact:
Walt Borton, 505 577 0301 or walt@waltborton.com
or
Penelope C Thomas, 917 679 0755 or penelope@clarkhulingsfoundation.org

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