Canadian Art


Dil Hildebrand: Studio Theatre

Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain, Montreal Sep 9 to Oct 16 2010
Dil Hildebrand <I>Studio D</I> 2010 Courtesy Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain Dil Hildebrand Studio D 2010 Courtesy Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain

Dil Hildebrand <I>Studio D</I> 2010 Courtesy Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain

In this exhibition of recent paintings and drawings, Dil Hildebrand returns with typically spry, painterly abandon. The exhibition title “Peepshow” is a pertinent reference to an imagery of persons, objects or paintings viewed through a magnifying glass or tiny aperture. Here, paint itself serves as a vented aperture through which vignettes are glimpsed. In imagistic fragments, the artist offers details of his own studio as though through a glass darkly.

Hildebrand constructs space in beguilingly innovative ways. The dialectic of space and surface is topsy-turvy here. Drawing on cinematic strategies, theatrical tropes, canons of photographic truth and history painting, the artist essays a bold phenomenology of space where painting is turned inside out.

The paintings in this exhibition are overwhelmingly seductive, yet they also carry a certain sting. Vertical blinds of pigment separate from the plane of representation to fudge figure/ground relationships in a delirious manner. The late, great Charles Gagnon would have loved these paintings. His preoccupations with the idea of the window mirror Hildebrand’s own, as does a penchant for puzzles and paradoxes.

Hildebrand’s interest in the physicality of pigment and its phenomenology is clear in these paintings, and it reveals a deep love for the studio. Ultimately, these works open a window onto process that takes viewers closer to experiencing the very essence of painting.

This article was first published online on October 7, 2010.


  • Dil Hildebrand

    The Winnipeg-born Montreal artist Dil Hildebrand is already big for his britches.

  • Ed Pien: Drawing in Many Forms

    The Canadian artist Ed Pien has long been known as a virtuoso in the medium of drawing. In her review of “Treacherous Lines,” Pien’s summer exhibition in Montreal, Zoë Chan explains how Pien brings his drawing-sensitive touch to a suite of works in a range of media that track the ineffable movements of the human mind and imagination.

  • Ten Top MFAs: An Indepth Portfolio View

    Art media is often accused of being youth-centric. But when it comes to gauging the quality of art schools, there’s no better evidence, at times, than the quality of their youthful grads. Here, Canadian Art Online offers indepth portfolio views for the 10 top grads detailed in Leah Sandals’s article “The Class of 2008” in the winter print edition of Canadian Art. Take a look, and then keep your eyes open to see how these schools stand up in the future.



[an error occurred while processing this directive]


  • Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller: Black Birds

    New York critic Joseph R. Wolin heads to the Park Avenue Armory where Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller are creating a buzz (and other sounds) at the US premiere of a dark, nightmarish installation originally created for the 2008 Biennale of Sydney.

  • Grange Prize 2012: Hot Shots

    One of Canada’s largest cash-value art prizes—$65,000 in total with $50,000 going to the winner, $5,000 to three runners-up—announced its finalists this week. Take in their wide-ranging works in this slideshow.

  • Wanda Koop: Into the Woods

    A visit to Wanda Koop’s cabin near Riding Mountain National Park in southern Manitoba proves intriguing for Vancouver critic Robin Laurence. There, Laurence writes, Koop bridges old Grey Owl myths with a new series of paintings on our increasingly digital culture.

  • Brad Tinmouth: Survival Strategies

    The basement of an art gallery may seem an unlikely place to create an emergency shelter. However, Xpace's lower gallery is an ideal setting for Brad Tinmouth's “If Times Get Tough or Even If They Don't,” which evokes a cold-war bunker.

  • Wim Delvoye: Blame it on Paris

    Silk-covered pigs, lattice-cut car tires and a tattooed man are just a few of the works that Belgian artist Wim Delvoye has shuttled into the old, Gothic wing of the Louvre this summer. Jill Glessing reviews, finding a terrific amalgam of high and low.

More Online

Report a problem