DIL HILDEBRAND - “If on a winter’s night…”

VIVIANEART is pleased to present a series of all-new works by Montreal-based artist Dil Hildebrand. The title of the exhibition, “If on a winter’s night…”, refers to the 1979 novel “If on a winter’s night a traveler”, by the Italian writer Italo Calvino. The postmodernist narrative, in the form of a frame story, portrays a reader trying to read a book of the same title. Calvino’s story, which self-consciously acknowledges the person reading it, finds a visual analogue in Hildebrand’s exhibition. The paintings themselves, in particular the large panorama, appear to point to the presence of the viewers in front of it. Through scale and trompe l’oeil cues, surface qualities and structures echoing climbing frames, viewers are invited to measure themselves against these elements and perhaps imagine the challenges of interacting with it physically.

With this series the artist synthesizes many of his explorations in painting over the years, bringing them full circle to work which echoes his earliest works; paintings centred on landscape and theatrical settings. In this series of paintings and woodblock relief prints, Hildebrand has incorporated new influences in the form of traditional Japanese woodblock printmaking called Ukiyo-e (translated as “pictures of the floating world”). Traces of Ukiyo-e masters such as Hokusai (1760-1849) and Hiroshige (1797-1858) are evident in the exhibition. In Hildebrand’s work, as in the case of these woodblock masters, architectural motifs combine with landscape imagery to unique effect. Passageways, screens and windows open onto deep horizons or nearby gardens with framing techniques that echo modern formal strategies, inviting the viewer to imagine themselves entering into the frame. Abstract forms combine with natural forms in ways that blend abstraction with representational imagery.

Hildebrand is an MFA graduate of Concordia University, Montreal and has been awarded a number of distinguished grants and awards including the International Residency at Acme Studios, London UK (2013); the Canada Council for the Arts (2010, 2014); the Banff Centre Thematic Residency (2009); Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (2009) and was winner of the RBC National Painting Competition (2006).

Hildebrand’s work has been shown internationally in such venues as the National Art Museum of China, Beijing (2010); the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2012); Herron Galleries at University of Indiana, Indianapolis (2013); Choi&Lager Gallery, Cologne (2013); Union Gallery, London UK (2012&13); University of Manitoba School of Art Gallery, Winnipeg (2013); YYZ, Toronto (2011); Galerie de l’UQAM, Montreal (2013); Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2014); AUT University Gallery, Auckland NZ (2007); and Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto (2006).

His work has been collected by major public institutions throughout Canada, including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Bank of the Canada Council, as well as numerous private and corporate collections throughout Canada, the United States and Europe.

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