|"Straight Shot" 2011|
|"Whizzer" oil on panel 24" x 36" 2009|
|study for Heave oil on linen 24" x 24"|
|Study for Passing It Up #2|
OK. Keywords: Manly. Masculine. Muscular. Right? Very. When trying to think how to describe these paintings one can't help but go toward the phrase "They're like ______ on steroids." Don't even bother filling in the blank. These paintings are like steroids. To be fair he has some lovely landscapes and some very sensual female nudes as well. But MAN OH MAN does this guy like men or what? All that rippling flesh piled up over heaving muscles painted with vivid vibrating brushwork. To top it all off the artist's name is Steve Huston! Sounds awfully close to Steve Austin. You know, the six million dollar man? So... with all that, the work might - just might - seem a little over the top. But damn. The top for this guy is a pretty high bar. He can paint and he can draw and if he's not going to apologize for painting manly flesh in all it's mighty extremes I'm not going to force him to apologize. Are you? And what what's wrong with over the top anyway. I think it has that in common with two key sources. First, it embodies the heroic common man vision that was so much a part of the early twentieth century. Echoes of George Bellows' savage boxing paintings are hard to miss, although these figures are loftier, more idealized like something out of WPA propaganda art. And that work has had much influence on the second source, which is the American comic book form. These figures are not just heroic. They're super-heroic.
Looking just online I find that I'm often more drawn to the studies than the more polished final paintings that follow them. This is because the rough more aggressive gestural nature of a study seems more suited to the subject matter. But looking at work only online has serious drawbacks and it is impossible to compare the different impacts that two might have in real life. Either way plenty of energy and raw talent comes through and there's lots to look at on his website: