(The chair is no longer the chair)
The world spins on without you.
(It is the raft that is the case, after all. The chair becomes the chair again.)
You will be missed, dear Peter Hutton.
But your autumnal leaves will continue to shed, your falling snows made luminous by those downtown shafts of winter light.
I screened New York Near Sleep (for Saskia) on the opening class of each semester, lo these past twenty five years, and for years before...
Means even more to me tonight, knowing the chair, your chair, is unoccupied, and shall remain so, but the waters will inevitably flow downstream, and the raft will stay afloat.
The world as you found it. Your work gifted us with the most beautiful monochrome reversal (as they called it) of all. You joined the Hudson River School, mostly in Tri-X and 4-X, knowing that all that really matters can be rendered more essentially in shades of gray.
How I love to swim in the thick, swirling crystals of your gorgeous grainscapes and camera fades, made manifest by light moving through time.
For the exquisite light, for the blessed black silences, and for the perfect cadence of your films.
And for the years of good cine-comradeship and ruddy good laughs...
At the end of Landscape (for Manon), after the day's long outing, exploring the woods and skies of the new world with Hudson River School mates Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, and William Jennings Bryant, you finally arrive home, through the gloaming, to your awaiting child, as she moves through the fair woodland shadows, already asleep and dreaming of a new day tomorrow, her future, as we slowly drift away on the raft, just watching the river flow, world without end, lost in the silent lullaby of your final cadence, an empty chair above the clouds.