SOLD Sculpture of a Woman by Rev. John L. Hunter (1905-1999)

The assemblages of self-taught artist Reverend John L. Hunter give new meaning to the words “stick figures.” Using fallen tree limbs, small branches, spare lumber and various applied material, Hunter created dimensional sculptures of everything from birds and animals to Biblical figures to the Stature of Liberty — and even Elvis.

Like many of his pieces, this figure of a woman (nearly 30 inches tall) started with a Y-shaped branch turned upside down to form the legs, a technique that gives Hunter’s characters their whimsical stance. But what makes this such an eye-popping piece is that the artist went all out in costuming the figure in 1960s glam: posh shoes, handbag and pillbox hat. (For my money, the rose-shaped medallion-buckle at the waist is the purple icing on the cake.)

In man ways, Hunter was a purist. He created his figure from simple materials using simple tools: a knife, chisel, hammer, ice pick, nails and a homemade concoction of glue. He also used house paint in pure colors, never blending paint to come up with unusual shades, with delightful results. In this case, pure glitz.

A native Texas and long-time Dallas resident, Hunter served as Senior Pastor of the city’s True Life Baptist Church for 31 years, preaching and carving well into his 90s. His work can be found in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.; the African American Museum of Dallas; and in numerous private collections.


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