Thursday, June 20, 2024

Amy Hill

Amy Hill grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey. She studied commercial art at Carnegie Mellon University. After graduating, she moved to New York City and worked as an illustrator for such publications as Rolling Stone, The New York Times and Penguin Books. The first solo exhibition of her paintings took place in the East Village in 1989.

Abridged text below by Reilly Davidson.

Amy Hill works in conjunction with historical frameworks, invoking Botticellian strangeness alongside the naïveté of Henri Rousseau. She also infuses her portraits with a hint of “Boterismo,” as inflated features and distorted realism recur throughout these compositions. Hill time travels with ease, intent upon picking up themes and conceits from each era of interest. Her collection of antiques are adapted to serve contemporary demands in an effort to clean out older generations and make room for new ones.

The artistic conceits of the Renaissance have been a constant touchstone for Hill, as she pursues this particular beauty via her own reinterpretations of form and content. What do the symbols of this bygone genre represent today? How can these images be improved upon? Hill’s secular figures worship consumer goods rather than the religious icons that were prominent during Europe’s “rebirth.” The desire to possess motivates Hill’s ongoing fascination with the conceits of Renaissance masterpieces. Beauty is also a compelling force by way of inspiration and pursuit.

These paintings are a continuation of what Hill has been pursuing since 2015, when she transitioned to a new mode of image making. She has always been interested in updating historical precedents in an effort to sustain a dialogue with painters past, however, she updated this endeavor by introducing new source material into the mix. By observing artists from the early American folk art tradition, she absorbed their consistent portrayal of families and the presupposed innocence of childhood. In accordance with her findings, she came to focus on the promise of youth, the imagined futures that children could occupy.

Amy Hill Family Breakfast, 2022 Oil on canvas 26 x 27 in 68.6 x 71.1 cm, courtesy of the artist and Fortnight Institute.
Amy Hill Young Woman with Strange Object, 2022 Oil on canvas 25 x 26 in 63.5 x 66 cm, courtesy of the artist and Fortnight Institute.
Amy Hill Tea, 2022 Oil on canvas 25 x 26 in 63.5 x 66 cm,courtesy of the artist and Fortnight Institute.
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