Anyone driving through Forestville during June or October will recognize the name Gerald Huth. Since the onset of Art at the Source and ARTrails, Gerald has prominently proclaimed OPEN STUDIO at his Anderson Road studio and gallery. While I had visited his gallery early in my Forestville residency, I had never met Gerald until this last week. Tall, energetic, excited, intense, well-traveled – the adjectives keep coming as I reflect upon the man who sat across from me as we spoke of art in Sonoma County, the human condition in Cambodia and the impact of circumstance on the path one takes in life.
Gerald was born to immigrant parents in New York City. He spoke German in the home and his parents taught the philosophy that each person was intended to make life better for others. Gerald had the opportunity to study architecture at University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, he left for Stuttgart to begin his apprenticeship in this challenging field. But the rigors of architecture gave way to the art all around him and it was not long before he was studying art at Ecole des Beaux-Arts d’Avignon in France. From Europe he traveled to Australia, taking every opportunity to paint and show his works. He traveled through Asia and by the time he returned to New York, he was an artist – no longer an architect.
Gerald understood that he wanted a career that allowed him to travel and one that gave him the freedom to express his beliefs and passion without constraint of his profession. He delved into the New York art scene with his full effort. He expanded his knowledge and exposure by attending Hunter College of the City of New York and The Art Student’s League of New York. His first New York exhibits took place in 1979 and his career was launched in his hometown.
There were no plans to move to Sonoma County when Gerald and his wife visited his sister in Healdsburg in 1985. But once being exposed to this beautiful place what artist can pass on living in Sonoma County? Gerald’s wife led multi-language tours of National Parks so there was no impediment to relocating for her. Soon the family settled on Anderson Road where Gerald renovated the dilapidated garage into a spacious studio. In 1995 Gerald began a string of shows in Europe – Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France. The ability to travel, show his art and come home to the beautiful environment of Sonoma County has fulfilled his dreams of early adulthood.
In 2003, Gerald and his wife turned their focus on Southeast Asia. During Gerald’s early travels he visited Asia and fell in love with the culture of the area. The couple visited Cambodia and taught art classes for children under the House of Peace program. For the last five years, they have traveled to Siem Reap, Cambodia to contribute to Anjali House. This program takes children from the ages of 4 to 16 who would otherwise be living on the streets in this impoverished area and provides education, nourishment and health care. About 100 children are in the program at a time. Each January, the Huths participate in the production of a play project which is focused on a Cambodian folktale. The children create and perform over a three week period during which they practice the English they are learning, paint sets and enrich their understanding of their heritage. This is a successful and rewarding activity that follows the creed of improving someone’s life each day as Gerald was taught by his father.
If you have not visited Gerald’s studio, it is tucked down a country lane off of Anderson Road (just past El Molino High School). He conducts workshops and classes in the newly insulated studio that he renovated so many years ago. There is now another building that houses his permanent collection of work which is open during Art @ the Source and ARTrails as well as by appointment. Gerald’s art is big, bold, colorful, 3-dimensional – words that could also describe Gerald. His subject material varies but is centered on the human form with shades of blue, green, yellow and ecru. After 9/11 he expressed the grief and anguish of the attacks through a series of works that merged eulogy and visual anguish. Recently there is a noticeable influence of the Cambodian culture in his collages of Buddha, Middle Eastern scripts and original art in the eternal circle. Evolution in life and in art go hand in hand.
You can see Gerald’s work at www.geraldhuthart.com or email him at email@example.com.