Stephen Hilyard

January 31, 2015 - April 25, 2015

“Mountain” is a series of five digital images of generic mountains generated from photographs of lava cone formations in Iceland. The images have been manipulated to render the mountain forms perfectly symmetrical for part of their height. These are not images of particular mountains, but diagrams of the concept “Mountain” realized as iconic conical forms.

Waterfall presents the viewer with a single static shot of a majestic waterfall. Over the course of the piece a number of diminutive figures walk slowly into the shot on the gravel bar at the bottom of the falls. They have come to pay their respects to the waterfall, we might call them pilgrims – we might call them tourists. Their slow-motion performances appear to be a mixture of the comedic and the devout.

The imagery of the waterfall has been manipulated to present an ideal of the concept “waterfall” rather than a specific location. The sound track for the piece is constructed from various sections of romantic classical music performed by ten year old boys during their piano lessons. Their performances are both vibrant and flawed, they evoke the struggle (and maybe the delusions) we all share in our attempts to grasp the profound.

Artist’s statement
I love all waste
And solitary places; where we taste
The pleasure of believing what we see
Is boundless, as we wish our souls to be…

— Percey Bysshe Shelley

“All of my work relates in some way to a quality of experience that has been described as ‘The Sublime’, often described as an ecstatic experience that places the viewer within some kind of larger context, whether it may be the wilderness, the cosmos or the sacred. This is an idea with a lot of history to it. My work deals with this history, as well as my own feelings about what the Sublime might mean.

My interest in digital media is focused on its ever growing capabilities to simulate the world around us, not as it is – but as we wish it to be. The subsequent undermining of traditional concepts of the reality and reliability are at the center of my work.”

About the artist
Stephen Hilyard was born in Britain where he studied architecture. He spent several years living and traveling in Africa until moving to California where he received his MFA from the University of Southern California in 1997. He has since worked for Peter Carlson & Co. and taught at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Hilyard creates artwork in a wide variety of media and his work has been exhibited across the United States and abroad. He is represented by Platform Gallery in Seattle where he has held two solo exhibits. He is currently a Professor of Digital Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.