James Hilleary [American]
acrylic on canvas
57 x 77.5 inches
James Hilleary, an artist-architect whose roots in painting go back to the stained abstractions of the Washington Color school, employs a familiar set of iconic, abstract motifs in recent paintings on view at the Barbara Fiedler Gallery (1621 21st. NW). These motifs basically are linear in nature. The design most frequently deployed is a set of centralized, vertical lines that expands in graceful curves towards the outer horizontal edges. Thus Hilleary’s paintings are basically geometrical. They are not, however, dry or mathematical. To the contrary, Hilleary uses these linear patterns as a secure anchor for explorations of rich colors and mottled textures. The more complex these researches, the more that Hilleary puts into them in terms of variety of color, light and surface, the better the pictures.
Two paintings stand out. One “Howard”, was conceived as a tribute to Howard Mehring, the late color painter, and in fact was painted on canvas Hilleary purchased from Mehring’s heirs. Built into this intense painting is a paradoxical sort of expansion-contraction as the colors move from a whitish pastel green though Mehringesque mottled pinks through deep, luminescent greens and blues – and back again. Another bit painting, “Variation – 1”, is a wonderfully dramatic, harmonious combination of fluid “S-curve” gestures.
- Benjamin Forgey, Geometry as an Anchor for Rich Explorations, The Washington Star, Friday, November 9, 1979
For all available works by James Hilleary please click here.