Canadian Art

Review

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.

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