Sedrick Huckaby is a devotional painter. Focused on what he loves—family, home, community, history, and God—he paints with the vision of his powerful affection. Huckaby’s love is a solidarity so formidable it is transformative. People, places, and things often perceived as unremarkable are recast in the strong light of grandeur; they are magnified from the minute to the monumental. Neighbors are differentiated from convenient anonymity and given their specific features in careful detail, faces of beloved family are rendered eight feet tall in impassioned oil paint, and personal history is infused with the palpable urgency of this very moment.
Pulling the past into the present is an effect most deeply felt in Huckaby’s portraits of quilts. No authentic quilt is anonymous; by definition, a quilt is specific—composed of a particular past. Quilts call on generational and cultural memory. In the case of the African American tradition, many quilting patterns harken back to tribal motifs that endured the Atlantic crossing to emerge again in careful arrangements of fabric. As individuals imbued with such stories and histories, quilts deserve portraits, nothing less. The quilts that Huckaby paints are made by his grandmother Mama Sarah, a woman who loved her children with great warmth, literally and figuratively. Her quilts are found in each of their closets. Once a background element in Huckaby’s portraits and still life paintings, the quilts slowly emerged as a worthy subject in and of
itself as an embodiment of the self-sacrificial love and artistry of his predecessors.
Huckaby honors artistic as well as familial lineage. Dr. Eddie McAnthony taught him papier-mâché techniques that allow him to sculpt expressive figures. McAnthony was a student of John Biggers, Biggers was a student of celebrated artist and legendary teacher Charles White, and White’s wife, Elizabeth Catlett, was also a successful artist. Through this daisy chain of learning and friendship, Huckaby feels connected to a host of meaningful lives and influences.
Relational connection grounds and guides Huckaby’s practice. “Grow where you are planted” is an adage that he seems to take quite seriously. Fort Worth is his birthplace and heart’s chosen home. Its people and history are his own, and he is fiercely dedicated to the well-being of his neighbors and family. In the end, it may be no stretch to say that for Sedrick Huckaby, it is not so much oil paint that is his medium but love itself.
– Linnéa Gabriella Spransy Neuss