Here is my empty studio. I am now in New York and the paintings are in a vacant gallery, shade pulled over their shadow boxes, door to the space locked.
Tomorrow they will be installed on the walls of Ceres Gallery. And on Tuesday, the show opens.
I know what went into the work. I know how much I attended to the detail of organizing this exhibition. What I don’t know, is how well these works will be received by an audience.
I always paint with part fear, part courage. It’s never a neutral mechanical thing. Oh, the mixing is. I try for what is called internal logic. The colors have to relate to one another. And that’s fairly scientific. Composition has certain rules as well. But the overall letting go of the work! The turning it out into the world! The calling of it finished!
Now they are finished. I called them so. All lined up silently behind the black shade, behind the locked door. Waiting to perform. They aren’t mine anymore. I have no control.
This is not the first time I have associated with the shipping company, US ART. The art handling company has hauled off lots of my work to various shows, to all parts of Manhattan. Poughkeepksie, College Station, Texas and Tuscon, Arizona. The times I haven’t used their services have turned out in disaster. One of my paintings wound up at someone’s house in North Georgia, where, if I had not taped my business card to the back, I would have never seen it again. Another time, some toys were sent to me, my painting, gone.
US ART has gone a little overboard with my stuff. For good reason, I found out. Some of the drivers from the refrigerated blue eighteen wheeler wear white gloves to carry my work out. Some act very nervous, looking out the window at the truck below my studio window. Since I am in the habit of talking to everyone anyway, I discovered, while chatting up the packer, that my volcano painting was resting next to a Matisse. They take good care.
Above is the signature image for all publicity, concerning my upcoming New York show. I am exhibiting a select group of paintings from my series, “The Cross Series.”
The group totals nine paintings, each 4’ x 6’. The work is basically abstract, as you can see, with the cross as a grid, anchoring the abstraction.
As I say in my press release, “The cross is the most basic of symbols, primitive, in that it coincidentally represents vertical man/woman standing in a horizontal world… The possibly religious content of the paintings takes a back seat to the form. The cross does not merely belong to Christianity.”
Still, the icon looms powerful enough to be incongruous with the sometimes street art and wild posting-like abstraction.
It has been a long haul, my sweet blog followers. I started out doing a series of work based on my association with my clothes and my memories. I even completed several paintings and a few drawings, using this theme. And I am not ditching it. I have decided to return to it after my New York show. BUT, with a method of painting very much like the painting above. I think I had to do the “Cross Series” first and hit my stride, then return to a personal theme like clothing/memories. The work I previously did on the clothing series was far too figurative, not enough depth and a tad illustrative. I was unhappy with it and the work dragged on and on. No enthusiasm.
If you are in the area, the show opens Tuesday, April 26th. The reception for me is Thursday, April 28th. from 6-8 PM. It is at Ceres Gallery, 547 W 27th Street, Suite 201, New York, NY 10001. It will be up for about three weeks, coming down May 21st.
I am in the process of working on my website. My website needs updating. It still has “Afloat” as my current work. I use collage in “The Cross Series” also, but with paint, (oil and acrylic) charcoal and pencil. It seems that collage has become my life’s work, having used it with video, paint or strictly cut paper from magazines.
I had a friend in art school who called me the Queen Of The Nonsequitur. I think my love of collage has something to do with that: mixing pieces normally not together, making things work.
Copyright 2016 Hollis Hildebrand-Mills All Rights Reserved
Photograph courtesy of Tom Meyer Photography
When I was living in Philadelphia, after attending art school and between jobs, I wandered down the street to a bookstore with its doors open. In a massive pile was the first edition of the book “The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again).” I bought the book.
This very famous artist, Andy Warhol seemed so accessible! We think alike! And how far is New York from here anyway!?
After a bold moment of courage, I called Andy Warhol Enterprises in Manhattan. The man answering the phone was very nice. I wanted to work for them, I said. In the Art Department of Interview Magazine. He said, please send us a tape of your voice. Andy would really like your voice.
So I did. But as the saying goes, I never heard back from them. And, to be honest, I was a little afraid of The Factory and all the goings-on there. Not the man himself, but those who associated with him. I never pursued it.
After reading subsequent books of Warhol’s, I learned that he kept time capsules. Andy Warhol was an organized hoarder, much like I am. That everything he received by mail or that which was given to him, he put in a box, marked with the year.
When he died, the time capsules were put in the soon to be built Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
My voice is in the Andy Warhol Museum!
Pearls From Hong Kong
When my husband and I went over to China to get our daughter, before we flew to Shanghai and then on to Hefei, we went to a jewelry store in Hong Kong. This was the last year Hong Kong was under British rule. 1996.
We watched as a woman artfully strung pearls for our soon-to-be daughter. We envisioned gifting them when she reached age sixteen.
Sixteen came, fraught with teaching her how to drive a stick shift. (Never once did I grab the wheel, although I prepared for a crash once, thinking we were going to hit a telephone pole.) Also drama at sixteen was so great, as to make us hesitant to give her such a lovely gift.
This year, however, at graduation from High School, she received these pearls with a knot tied in between each one. The knots representing the knots in our stomachs as we flew military flights into the interior of the country. Happy music and the nose of the plane pointed straight upward. Hot wet towels handed out. And the nose of the plane thrust downward upon landing. More happy music. Knots for each of the ten planes. And knots for the anxiety we had at becoming parents.
It was the best thing we have ever done. To adopt our daughter. And the best thing we will ever do.
“Out Of Order”
I am an artist. I do not assume this photograph to be a work of art. I was in a store yesterday. And my daughter was in the dressing room. I decided to take a seat outside the dressing rooms on a platform. Couldn’t even be called a bench.
A dressing room with an “Out Of Order “ sign on it?? I thought about it as my daughter was changing her clothes.
Well, it could be, that if one were to open the door, disregarding the sign, that there was an elevator shaft on the other side of the door and one would plummet to one’s death. After all, what could be “Out of Order?” Could it be flickering flourescent lights reminiscent of a David Lynch movie? So minor. Had to be something more dangerous like a mine shaft. On the other side of that door.
Okay, we all know by now, that certain phrases are used willy nilly, like “One Moment Please”, “Have A Nice Day”, “No Problem”, “Fill Out The Form,” “Please Sign.” (As you are grappling with five things in your hands, stuffing your credit card back in your wallet, spilling your sunglasses to the floor.) Then again, when you don’t sign right away as you are picking up your shattered sunglasses, again it comes, “Please Sign!”
I wonder if this “Out Of Order” sign means the end of the world is on everyone’s mind? Or another phrase put up there with no thought whatsoever. After all, they put “Out Of Order” signs on bathroom stalls, don’t they?
My car. My precious Honda. It is old but it is special. So special, in fact, that every time I drive it, someone asks me if I will sell it.
My car was hit by some obnoxious person. Hit in a mall parking lot on private property. Which, no police officer can assign guilt or liability to either party involved in the accident.
My car is not mine anymore. I have to go to a lawyer to get it back. My fear is, that it is in a place where everyone wants to drive it and claim it as their own.
Say a prayer for Frostie. Although he is nineteen years old, he is not used to spending the night away from home.
Whizzing by the other night, I saw a dog with a light on its collar. It was designed for the dog to see where it was going in the darkness. Just loose enough to move with the dog. Just tight enough so that the light didn’t swing and sway to confuse the puppy.
I have never seen these lights for dogs. Then I thought of SkyMall, the inflight magazine on airplanes. (which, by the way, was where I ordered my dog repellent device.) SkyMall, of course, is now online.
SkyMall is the best magazine for obscure and interesting “things.” An “It Is what It Is” inscribed bracelet. Really, people say that all the time: what does it MEAN? A scalp massaging shampoo brush. (Shown with water showering down on a head in the photograph) Stretchy wearable posture aids, a floating desk (with storage), phone mounters for the car, iPhone printers and so much more.You can see why these magazines are on the airplane. Why worry about lousy inflight service when there is SkyMall?
Have you ever tried to solve a mystery? Something in your daily life you can’t quite figure out, but you have a gut feeling about? Have you combined your intuition with some facts surrounding the situation and BAM! you have it the solution. Or have you? Has this ever happened to you?
The Chinese say that intuition is a “second brain”, physically located in your stomach. Hence the “gut feeling” expression.
Most people do not trust their intuition enough! When I try to solve a problem using my intuition, it feels like stepping out on a cloud, walking off a plank, taking a shot at something. It feels a little strange. People think they need facts alone to solve problems and mysteries. That to use intuition could not possible be sound.
But, as I said in the first paragraph, I put some facts with my intuition and…..well, I can solve almost anything. Can you?