Robert Huff

“Sidh Structures,” a late 1990s bronze sculpture, is part of the exhibit “Robert Huff: Retrospective,” which runs June 15 through Aug. 12 at the downtown campus of the Museum of Art – DeLand.

The Museum of Art-DeLand will present “Robert Huff: Retrospective” June 15 to Aug. 12 in the Downtown Gallery.

Art critic Beth Dunlop, editor of Modern Magazine, will discuss the work of Robert Huff at 5 p.m. Friday, July 13, at the Downtown Gallery. A reception will be from 5-5:30 p.m. and the lecture will be 5:30-6:30 p.m.

The event is part of the museum’s Walter May Art Speaks Lecture Series. Cost is $90 for the five-lecture series or $25 per lecture; museum members $80 for the series or $20 per lecture.

Artist Robert Huff grew up loving tools and building materials.

His family, which moved from Michigan to west Florida in the 1950s when he was 11, ran a construction business.

Then, in community college, Huff encountered Monet.

“Bob didn’t really have an art background – his family didn’t spend a lot of time in museums or things like that,” said his widow Barbara Young. “But he had gone to a museum as part of an assignment in a humanities class and saw a little Monet painting. He looked at it and thought about it, and a few days later changed his major to fine arts.”

Mr. Huff earned his MFA from the University of South Florida and began teaching at a community college and creating his multi-disciplinary art in Miami – where he also fulfilled his passion for boating and fishing in the sub-tropical landscape and the Everglades. But he never abandoned his love of architecture.

Mr. Huff’s attraction to architecture, geometric shapes and grids infuse many of the exhibit’s paintings as well as the many three-dimensional works -- assemblages, wooden constructions and “pure” sculptures fashioned from bronze.

Yet Mr. Huff, who died in 2014 at age 69, once said: “I have always considered myself a landscape artist . . . Architectural form is often perceived as an imposition on the natural landscape. My work has concentrated on the relationship between the man-made architectural form and the natural free-flowing forms found in the environment . . . The integration and disintegration of these relationships becomes the starting point for many of my pieces.”

The retrospective exhibit also includes a handful of Mr. Huff’s early 1970s three-dimensional assemblages housed in Lucite boxes, and colorful, even psychedelic, Peter Max-like drawings, which would have been at home in the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” movie.

Robert Sindelir, a gallery owner in Coral Gables at the time, was the first art dealer to take on Huff’s work.

“Bob’s work was diametrically opposed to what I had been showing,” said Mr. Sindelir, who moved with his wife, artist Jill Cannady, from Miami to DeLand 16 years ago. Both remained lifelong friends with Huff.

“I was showing very, very expressive artists, people who were expressing very direct and fundamental sensations,” he said. “Bob’s work from the very beginning was very removed from that.”

The Downtown Gallery is at 100 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand. Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5, or free for museum members and children 12 and younger. For more information,call (386) 734-4371 or visit moartdeland.org.

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