Mabel Bennett, born in Blackfoot, ID, married Milon Hutchinson and moved to Riverside, CA in 1927. Mabel pursued a career as a watercolorist and began studying with Rex Brandt in 1930. She joined the California Watercolor Society in 1939. During WWII, Mabel volunteered for the USO, sketching portraits of soldiers in Riverside before they shipped out. Milon worked as a firefighter, but after the war he purchased Corona Crafts Fine Arts and they moved to Capistrano Beach, where he crafted wooden bowls, boxes, and furniture.
Mabel continued her watercolor work until she saw a show of Louise Nevelson’s sculpture in 1959. Inspired, she began to create assemblage sculpture using leftover scraps of wood from Milon’s business, and stopped exhibiting with the Watercolor Society. Her assemblage work branched out to designing assemblage wood panels with her husband; their collaboration included doors for cabinets as well as entry doors for homes and businesses.
The Buck collection includes 31 of her watercolors and drawings, 2 sculptures, and one coffee table. Exhibited in the First Glimpse show, Hutchinson’s Assemblage from 1978 is exemplary of her thoughtfully-composed and finely finished sculptural style. The sculpture is constructed from individual pieces of finished and polished wood in various geometric shapes. While not symmetrical, the sculpture is harmonious and balanced. The artwork is elegant and does not suggest that it was made from leftover furniture scraps.
Artist: Mabel Hutchinson
Dimension: 32 1/2 x 9 x 8 1/2 inches (80.01 x 22.86 x 21.59 cm)
Collection: The Buck Collection at the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art
Copyright: © Mabel Bennett Hutchinson Trust