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.