COLUMBUS – Most folks around these parts know Bob Huot as a raiser of dairy cattle, a New Berlin Town Board member, or a local activist. Few realize, however, that he has a rich and colorful history that spans the bohemian New York City art scene, the Korean war, the world of academia, and the agrarian life he chose here in Chenango County. Furthermore, few local residents realize the art that Huot creates that seems to connect the diverse threads of his multifaceted past.
On a sub-zero day in February of 2015, in an outbuilding on Huot's sprawling farm, he and his assistant – and neighbor – Kevin Britton, were hard at work packaging up his paintings for an upcoming gallery show in Roanoke Va. Huot and longtime friend, Ed Hettig, have recently partnered up to open the Alexander / Heath Contemporary art gallery in Roanoke. Huot's work will be featured at the opening on March 6, 2015.
The building where Huot and Britton were working was filled with the artist's unique equilateral triangle shaped canvases. Each triangle is adorned with his minimalist, abstract, acrylic renderings of his worldview.
But to better understand Huot and his triangular creations, one must start at the beginning to fully grasp the simple and stable underpinnings that inform all aspects of the artist.
Huot was born in 1935 on Staten Island, N.Y. in a blue collar family. Huot's father was a member of IBEW labor union and ran a power station for the Staten Island Rapid Transit. Staten Island at that time was much different than it is today. Huot remembers Staten Island having expansive farms and some wilderness. “Growing up on Staten Island there was a lot of wildlife,” Huot said.
Huot grew up on Staten Island and eventually became the first in his family to graduate college. He graduated in May of 1957 from Wagner College on Staten Island with a degree in Chemistry. Huot paid his way through college working at U.S. Gypsum as a laborer making material to fireproof elevators. According to Huot's website, “I got my 'working papers' as soon as I could (at 14). I worked as a camp counselor, an insurance company mail clerk, in a supermarket warehouse and as a laborer at US Gypsum and worked my way through college.”