Constructing CLINTON HILL
PAVEL ZOUBOK GALLERY is pleased to present a retrospective exhibition of abstract collages and mixed-media constructions by Clinton Hill (1922-2003). Please join us for the opening reception on Thursday, October 13 from 6-8pm or during the run of the exhibition, which continues through November 12.
constructing CLINTON HILL is the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York since 2003 and coincides with CLINTON HILL: Spatial Meditations at Meredith Ward Fine Art. Both exhibitions have been organized in collaboration with the Clinton Hill / Allen Tran Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting scholarship on artists of Clinton Hill’s generation.
The rediscovery of an artist’s career is an ongoing process of construction and re-construction. And so it is with the work of the multi-talented abstractionist CLINTON HILL (1922-2003) who, over a long and successful career, developed a uniquely personal language of form and color in the fields of painting, collage, mixed-media assemblage and printmaking.
Clinton Hill was born in Payette, Idaho. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he moved to New York to attend the Brooklyn Museum Art School. Like a number of his contemporaries, he left for Paris in the early 1950s to continue his studies and continued on to Florence, Italy. He produced his first important works during this period, and upon his return to the United States had his first solo exhibition in 1955 at the Zabriskie Gallery in New York. The current exhibition includes several key collages from this period, reflecting the dominant aesthetic current of the time, Abstract Expressionism.
Art historian Susan Larsen writes,
Over many years, Hill explored the way edges define states of movement, stasis, permanence or fading away into space. He discovered the expressive power of torn edges testifying to the touch of a human hand and the unpredictable action of a gesture at a given moment in time. He had such respect for the material integrity of paper that he sought out those whose long graceful fibers or short blunt ones would add new voices to the interplay of his art. At first, one may not even know that his dynamic compositions on paper contain elements of collage. These appear to be small paintings exploring the touch of the brush, now transparent, then loaded with pigment and opaque. But some of the elements are neatly fitted paper wedges placed adjacent to painted shapes so that they merge into the overall image without a murmur. By the 1960s, Hill’s technical command of paper collage had become so deft and sure that paper became a vehicle for achieving his potent imagery and not an end in itself.
During the 1980’s, Hill would recreate similarly derived compositions from humble fragments of discarded plastic, painted and floated in intimate shadow boxes. This exhibition also includes a series of sculptural reliefs in painted wood that recall the geometric compositions of the Futurists and Constructivists, as well as two large constructions from the 1990s made from brightly colored panels of handmade paper, works that reflect a keen interest in pattern.
The works in constructing CLINTON HILL and CLINTON HILL: Spatial Meditations collectively span over four decades, celebrating the life and work of an artist who ceaselessly explored the geometry of seeing. The exhibitions are accompanied by a fully-illustrated monograph with an essay by art historian Susan C. Larsen.