Daphne Hill’s most recent series of paintings contains the spitting images of vigor, innocence, frivolity and lust. Grounds of ornamental domestic materials – wall paper and place mats – are familiar, invoking a safe haven and privacy. Heavy florals, strokes of gold, dotted patterns and ribbons decorate Hill’s surfaces to enhance the air of fantasy as the curve of a hip or a perfectly-ripe piece of fruit entice the viewer to enter an opulent boudoir.
Daphne Hill’s most recent series of paintings is a trap.
“Anxiety is the impetus for my work,” according to Hill, and boy, is she not kidding. If at first you are drawn in by their doily-drenched sweetness, the narratives of her confectionary dreams quickly unravel into dark, dirty little secrets that nobody wants to think about, much less mention. In this series, Hill has wrestled the subject of venereal disease to the floor, dressed it up and taken it out on the town for a good time. Slick resin surfaces pronounce their clinical sterility while black silhouettes of men and women entice, engage and exchange with each other. Her intense use of ornament serves as an aesthetic foil for the biological imprints of bacterial diseases which, in their macroscopic representations, become celebratory fireworks and streamers. The resulting compositions camouflage the diseases and enforce a formality by which we understand the limits of what we are encouraged to discuss.
Hill’s paintings are affronting narratives of saccharine and salt all rolled up into big balls of “let’s not talk about it.” As such, they express one of the basest anxieties of the human condition: if it’s going to be fun, it has got to be dangerous.
Hatheway Curatorial is a series of rotating exhibitions, developed and curated by Teale Hatheway, taking place at Barbara’s, the restaurant/bar hidden in the heart of the Brewery Arts Complex. The Brewery is considered the world’s largest live-work arts complex with an estimated 500 resident and day-use artists representing every field of creation. Barbara’s provides a welcoming environment for artists, art lovers, musicians, writers and business people to meet, exchange ideas and cut a little loose. As a curatorial project, Barbara West at the Brewery provides a forum for resident and non-resident artists who are actively pursuing creative development. Additional information about Barbara West at the Brewery can be found by visiting us on ArtSlant.com.