Hana Hillerova is one of the 22 artists to watch, according to AMOA. I have seen her work in ARTL!ES and at AMOA, have known her influence at UT and CRL, and her association with AMODA. Her art generally is process oriented as she works, reworks, and crosses mediums. Digital with analog, 2-D with 3-D, singular with collaboration, Ms. Hillerova is constantly moving.
Coming around that first corner in the gallery, two photographs greet you. They appear to be the same photograph digitally mirrored in opposite directions. As near as I could tell, the original image cropped a river scene. On the left was just a slither of one bank with a couple of buildings on it. Then the river curved toward the camera. On the right was the other bank, with more of the city visible before it is cut. In one photo, a tiny island is created and the river hairpins toward us. Sunrays seem to shower down onto the scene from the quadruplely flipped up sky. The other photo was mirrored the other direction. So that the river hairpins away from the viewer and there is a large island in the center. The sunlight appears to rise from the flipped sky in this version. The colors are pinkish and the city/ riverscape feels polluted.
In the main space, a large pile of materials form a sculptural installation. This is surrounded by five large digital prints. Each print contains a landscape oasis as a focal point around which psychedelic textures swirl. The textures, patterns, and shapes are mirrored and echoed to produce a psuedo-Rorschach test. The patterning and colors used in the prints make them look like novelty posters. Both holographic and stereographic posters are invoked. I stared and stared, waiting for a unicorn to jump out at me! They looked like a commentary on what is sold at poster and frame shops in the mall.
The installation took up the great expanse in the center of the gallery. Opening night it forced everyone to the sides, front and outside. Constructed mainly from cardboard and carpet materials, it was shaped as an island landscape. Some lights were covered with tinted cellophane and the wall behind it was painted to mimic the rainbow colors of the prints. Stands were used to create elevation and objects, lumber I think, thrusted the carpet into peaks. This lifting invited the viewer to examine the underbelly of this installation. This is where the installation begins to disappoint. Looking at the openings from the back and sides, nothing exciting was happening. Returning to the surface revealed a barren landscape. There are moments of micro-activity, but they are far between the expanses of carpet and cardboard. At first glance, there is a lot going on in the sculpture. One-by-twos run around the edge and up into the ceiling, paint is spilled and splattered throughout, and deconstructed, toy racecar mountainscapes mimic and repeat the whole system. But, after checking out the cavernous aspect of the elevation, the distance of the microcosms is heightened. In comparison, it feels like maybe the texture of the carpet and foam were supposed to emulate the stereographic patterns of the prints. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
Thinking about Ms. Hillerova’s previous work, this show presents work that is more representational. She usually worked with elements in a more design sense, especially her prints. Her installations felt tighter and original in terms of construction. This installation is copying a familiar scene using trashy elements that are not transcending that existence. I find it funny that the work in the gallery reminded me something of a cross between Inka Essenhigh and Tara Donovan‘s latest installation. Coincidentally both artists were discussed in another blog.
I really enjoyed the larger prints. That play with 3D posters was fun. The installation wasn’t as successful, but a great attempt at fusing an older process with new ideas. This show was very GOOD.
I’ll tell you ’bout what I sees.