Thursday, March 28, 2019

Essay'd: Patrick Hill

Screen, 2009, wood, glass, concrete, steel, epoxy, dye, ink, 81 in x 82 in x 108 in
(originally published 3/28/19 in Essay'd)

You could be forgiven for mistaking Patrick Hill for a minimalist. After all, a cursory glance at his sculptures will tell you that he is a native speaker of that iconically laconic language. Geometric forms in clean configurations? Check. An aesthetic of carefully considered refusal and reduction? Certainly. An exquisite sensitivity to space, balance, and the materiality of matter? That’s him, all right.

But in its reductive simplicity, minimalism ultimately leads to a conceptual dead-end. “What you see is what you get” only gets you so far in a time when art aspires to boundlessness. Taking cues from feminist artists, Hill circumvents this impasse by using minimal forms to go deep inside, to explore the body and aspects of subjective experience like identity, sexuality, frailty, and failure. (In his words: “It’s Richard Serra, only less ‘dude’.”) He finds source material not just in material itself, but in his personal experience and the wider worlds of fashion, pop culture, art history, and Eastern aesthetics and spirituality—a sprawling mixture that accretes, in his hands, into fragile monuments to interiority and human imperfection.

Read the rest at Essay'd.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Essay'd 3 launch this week!

This Thursday marks the launch of Essay'd 3, the third volume in our continuing series of books that grow from the Essay'd website, where we publish short, illustrated essays about contemporary Detroit artists.


Essay'd 3, published by Wayne State University Press, includes essays #61-90 in our ever-expanding and non-hierarchical survey of Detroit art, which is intended for the general reader. As in the previous two volumes, I served as editor-in-chief and contributed a handful of entries. I'm really delighted to share this volume with the world, as it marks a significant shift in Essay'd, away from content created by a small core group (as in Volumes 1 and 2), and toward a real multiplicity of voices and perspectives. The main editorial team was joined this time by 12 guest writers, everyone from Art History students to professional art critics, and as a result, the project has grown and expanded in an exciting way.

If you're in Detroit and available to join, I'd love to see you at MOCAD on Thursday from 6:00-8:00! We'll be signing and selling books (including copies of the first two volumes), and enjoying some delicious Bangladeshi foods from our friends at Bandhu Gardens. Come out and show your love for the incredible community of artists and writers that call Detroit home!