Tribute: Peter Hutton

Looking at the Sea

Peter Hutton
USA, Ireland 2001
15 min

LOOKING AT THE SEA begins, a propos of nothing, on a verdant hillside. Slowly, shot by shot, the film moves us from the earth to the sea, with a blue-gray light saturating everything in the frame. The water is slowed ever so slightly in its movement through the image, lending it a slight permanence. As Scott MacDonald has noted, Hutton is a filmic inheritor of the Hudson River school of landscape painting. But reworking this imagery in cinema fundamentally alters its meaning. In cinema, we actually experience the moment of natural beauty’s capture and escape. Hutton’s unparalleled achievement is his ability to collaborate with the sun, to generate films of fleeting luminosity. (Michael Sicinski) SKAGAFJÖRDUR draws its title from a particularly striking region of northern Iceland. The film documents the area’s ravishing landscape in a series of serene vistas of rolling hills and open sky. After an introductory sequence in black and white, the film switches to luminous color to capture the atmospheric play of light on the coastal valley. Hutton finds the mythic character of Iceland in its ancient physical landmarks, like the imposing Drangey Island, as well as in the brilliant, ephemeral moments slowly transforming the landscape.» (Henriette Huldisch, Whitney Biennial catalogue)


Peter Hutton

16 mm
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