Natural Histories: Eugene Hyde, Croton Series

Eugene Hyde - From the Croton Series (1974), mixed media on canvas, Collection: NGJ

Eugene Hyde – From the Croton Series (1974), mixed media on canvas, Collection: NGJ

Croton Series (1964) is a part of Eugene Hyde‘s flower series. For most of his career, Hyde’s stylistic approach was adventurous and foreign to Jamaican audiences who were unfamiliar with abstraction and more inclined towards classical realist art. He is considered a major force in the development of abstract art in Jamaica and saw himself as something of an outsider to the local art scene. In the mid-1960’s, Hyde’s work began to reflect a strong Abstract Expressionist influence, the Croton Series exemplifies this moment.

 Abstract Expressionism is an art movement that gained prominence in post-World War II America (mid to late 1940s). The movement is characterised by a combination of the emotional intensity and self-denial of the German Expressionists with the anti-figurative aesthetic of earlier abstract movements such as Futurism and the Bauhaus. Elements of abstract expressionism such as  dynamism and movement in form, shape and space characterize Croton Series and other such works by Hyde. The works use of sweeping movements of gradating colours to imply form is also typically Abstract Expressionist. Though Hyde was interested in abstraction, his work never became strictly formalist as was the tendency with European and American abstract movements. He re-interpreted abstraction to suit the Jamaican context, always maintaining a representational element in his compositions.

NS-J

Eugene Hyde - Untitled (1978)  mixed media on canvas, Collection: NGJ, gift of National Hotels and Properties

Eugene Hyde – Untitled (1978) mixed media on canvas, Collection: NGJ, gift of National Hotels and Properties

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One thought on “Natural Histories: Eugene Hyde, Croton Series

  1. Pingback: Natural Histories: A Note on Cotton Trees and Jamaican Art | National Gallery of Jamaica Blog

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