Chicago Reader article by Sarah Nardi: "Sex and Blood and Zombies: the art of Jeriah Hildwine"
Artist Snapshot on Art Pilsen
Interview with Chicago Contemporray Figurative Art
28 March 2007: Thesis 1 Shows At MICA (BMore Art Blog)
Friday, March 23, 2007
Thesis 1 Shows at MICA by Asper Winktop
Jeriah Hildwine "All That You Need to Make a Mo"
The MFA Thesis Exhibitions begin at MICA. Yes, they have already opened—last Friday to be exact, the same evening as the excellent Jolly Cowboy opening at the DCAC. And, yes, you will miss them if you are not savvy. In fact you probably missed the first one already. Don’t worry there are more!!
Each Thesis Exhibition (there Are THREE—one after the other) runs only a mere ten days, which is ridiculous for the amount of work that has gone into them and so they should not be missed. The MICA galleries showcase the Institution’s primed artists from each of the graduate programs; Hoffberger School of Painting, Rinehart School of Sculpture, Mount Royal School of Art and MFA Photography and Digital Imaging. The artists have been intensely incubating and rigorously producing in their hermetic studios for two-years straight (HOPEFULLY). As you can imagine the work is diverse, from lowbrow to the highbrow from the extraordinary to the absolute banal. There, of course, is usually some schlock but mostly the work remains inspired.
Here’s how it usually goes:
I forgot about them and got there late. It’s a mad sprint to see all of the exhibits and its crowded and hard to appreciate the work and so you have to come back to spend time with each of the pieces. Equally as fleeting, are the fabulous Artist Talks, which I forgot about, too. They are always on an odd Wednesday. As usual I hadn’t prepared to go, but, lucky for me, as I wanted to write about a few of the pieces I had seen at the glamorous opening, I showed up partway through the talk session.
Most Artists pine over their discourse. Some are colloquial. Some are irrationally heady and some are informative and for most they are nervously performative. The talks are open to the public and all are encouraged to ask questions. As a fly on the wall, the audience is shown a vulnerable and valuable inside look into the brain of creativity. They start from 1pm and mill from one artists work to the next until 4pm.
Upon my late arrival I heard (from a few good sources) that Jeriah Hildwine’s talk was outstanding. If you have seen the brute-tall kilt-wearing, firearms enthusiast who created the excitingly large panoramic-gallery-wrapping and thinly painted canvas containing multiple penises, vaginas (and it would probably be appropriate to use a more visceral moniker for these body parts here although I couldn’t bring myself to write them) and then guns, lots of guns and explicitly posed nude woman, you too would be sorry to miss his talk. Myranda Bair in jeans began her dialogue about a breakup with her boyfriend (a typical graduate school occurrence). As she spoke she was closely stalked (was this performance art?) by a man in khakis capturing her every move on a beefed-up video camera a foot away. Even after listening to her boyfriend troubles—where her ideas spouted from, which was endearing, I still find her Watercolor Drawings of climbing regalia most sexual, grappling, binding, without being too perverse. Then there was Grant Guilliams who stated wryly that he did not believe in compassion nor sympathy, causing many huffs and eyeball-rolls (This is art school. There are many romantics). Unfortunately, as the talks moved outside onto the lawn, I had someplace to be and so I had to go.
Jacob Fossum "You Knew What I Was When You Picked Me Up"
However, my favorite pieces in the show were Jacob Fossum’s large paintings in Fox Third Floor Gallery. His striking group of oil paintings are just masterly. With imagery delving into a mix of mythology and storybook fairy tails, Fossum brings the traditional up to the contemporary in a Campbell-ian meld. His inspired use of animal imagery (geese, parrots, a vulture and wolves—the wild and the beautiful) make strong metaphors. Particularly Fossom’s Oil on Linen, “You knew What I Was When You Picked Me Up” is lovely to spend time with. In the painting, a man is strew across the lap of a seated woman ala David’s, The Death of Marat, except in a red sultry onesie. The seated woman is lifting her arms in the air and her hands lilt like birds in flight. Behind the both of them is a peculiar large-scale children’s book illustration in monochromatic blues. It is a mysterious scene of a castle, a sleeping girl, elves and, right above the seated woman’s bird-like-hands, is the forebodingly austere wolf pack. As a frame to the entire painting Fossum paints the wallpaper of lilies from darkness and makes them fall to life by the time they spill onto the Persian rug. It is a complete mix of reality and storybook wonder. It was unfortunate that I was unable to hear Jacob Fossom’s talk.
Grant Guilliams’s work on a whole is impressive and unfinished. “The Secret Lives of William Rindle,” is at first sight a sci-fi/video-game-esc interactive installation. It sits in the center of the room resembling a prop from Woody Allen’s sleeper morphing with the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and that’s not a bad thing, the plastic colors are what drew me to it. The que was too long at the opening to get a peek inside the three brightly colored helmets so I had to come back to experience the piece in its entirety. The narrative consists of three different points of view (one in each helmet) describing a murder in which it is up to the viewer to conclude what had really happened. For me, the piece references Roshomon Kurosawa’ great classic which explored the relationship between truth and perspective. But they also the bring to mind the exciting new Mexican directors, Arriaga and Inarritu, who utilize separate stories that crash at a single violent event as well as Terentino’s, Pulp Fiction and Gondry’s, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind who deal with time-shifting experiments in Modern Cinema. “Secret Lives—” being an art piece, being an interactive sculpture, could be a fresh provacation. The trick is you have to see all three in order to appreciate the piece. And you wonder if, getting haphazardly into each modular and looking a quite a fool, if this is part of the piece. Despite the cumbersome, the gross sensation of trying on helmets that you know have been on many contestants heads, the three sections of digital video are great thumbnails of wonderfully edited narrative and appropriate for viewing in this manner. Also his painting on wood, “Scarborough Decalcomania,” needs closer inspection.
They’re off!! The Thesis Exhibits are exciting and sometimes disparate. They are always worth visiting. The openings are fun and crowded and the hors d'oeuvre’s are just as fleeting as the exhibits themselves. Don’t forget and go to the talks but remember, as we know, good Art, after all, is show don’t tell.
Later that day I bumped into a friend who said Jacob Fossum’s talk was excellent. I wonder if he talked about the wolves.
( by Asper Winktop)
MFA Thesis II Exhibition
Friday, March 30–Sunday, April 3
Reception: Friday, March 30, 5–7 p.m.
Open Studios: Friday, March 30, 7–9 p.m.
Gallery Talks: Wednesday, April 4, 1–4 p.m.
08 March 2006: City Flicker (The City Paper, Baltimore, MD)
Five Years Into Its Baltimore Gallery Experiment, Funding Problems Force Annapolis Art Organization To Close Shop And Regroup
LAST ACTION FIGURE: The MFA City Gallery's final show includes Jenna Bishel's "Untitled."
At the Maryland Federation of Art City Gallery through March 24.
By J. Bowers
Everyone makes mistakes sometimes—even a 38-year-old nonprofit organization. When the Maryland Federation of Art’s board of directors decided to supplement the organization’s strong presence at Annapolis’ Circle Gallery with a second space on North Charles Street in 2001, it sounded like an easy way for the federation to establish a presence in Maryland’s biggest metropolis, increase its visibility, and expand its mission to provide professional exhibition opportunities for emerging artists.
But over the past five years, the City Gallery has struggled to build relationships with the Baltimore business and art communities, much like the nascent artists that the Maryland Federation of Art strives to represent. After its current show, Go Figure, a national juried exhibit of figural paintings, sculptures, and photographs, the City Gallery will close its doors for good, canceling the rest of its scheduled 2006 season and sending the federation back to Annapolis, its proverbial tail between its legs.
The closing feels sudden, especially coupled with recent turnover on the Maryland Federation of Art’s board of directors—longtime executive director Pamela Wilson stepped down, making way for local boy-via-California Brian Bohn; former board president Joe Dickey was invited to reassume his post last November—but everyone involved insists that these changes indicate a carefully planned effort to regroup, not retreat.
“Moving to Baltimore and opening a second gallery was a really bold initiative for us, and it was very challenging financially,” says Wilson, who held the position of executive director when the City Gallery opened. “By the end of last fall, it really was a heartrending decision, but a responsible one, to close the City Gallery, regroup at our Annapolis location, and start looking for a greater level of financial support to sustain our presence in Baltimore.”
Several factors contributed to the gallery’s failure. First, the right infrastructure was never in place. The federation’s board of directors has always been predominantly composed of artists, not businesspeople, and though the City Gallery enjoyed some success partnering with Maryland Institute College of Art and the Johns Hopkins University for its annual Beyond the Looking Glass art exhibit by city youth, its connection to the Baltimore community simply wasn’t strong enough to sustain financial support. As a primarily board-driven organization with only two full-time employees, the Maryland Federation of Art lacks both a dedicated development staff and the resources to hire one. Baltimore member turnover was high, as student artists from MICA, Towson University, and other local schools tended to join the federation, exhibit their work at the City Gallery, and then leave town.
“I think we sort of put the cart before the horse,” admits Dickey, who also works as a professor in JHU’s engineering school. “Looking back on it from today’s vantage point, we probably needed to build a support base in Baltimore first, then ease into having a gallery.”
The decision to abandon the City Gallery was an emotional one for the Maryland Federation of Art’s board of directors. Some members initially disagreed with the closing, viewing it as a step backward for the entire organization.
“Others thought we should have closed a long time ago,” Dickey says. “However, the board now is very solid, very hard-working, and in step with itself. Everyone’s on the same side of the canoe here, and our goals are clear. We’re not sure exactly what our presence in Baltimore is going to be, but we’ve been around for 40 years, we’re financially solvent. We just need to rethink how we do things.”
No matter what the federation’s board ultimately decides to do, the organization’s key mission of assisting emerging artists will remain the same. But that mission is one of the factors that limited the City Gallery’s financial sustainability. Work by emerging artists, who by definition don’t have solid collector base, doesn’t sell well as a rule, and emerging artists typically don’t have extra cash to contribute to the galleries that exhibit them. Plus, the City Gallery tended to host shows that were unpredictable in terms of overall quality.
Fittingly, the work in the space’s farewell sally, Go Figure, juried by the National Gallery’s Wilford W. Scott, ranges wildly in terms of skill level. For every sublimely subversive Jeriah Hildwine painting (“The Presentation of Eve to Adam”) or sinuous black walnut Brian Flynn sculpture (“Figure 2005”), there are at least three other pieces that feel garish or unremarkable by comparison. The bottom line is sad but true: The City Gallery was never a must-see destination for local art enthusiasts.
“It has a lot to do, I think, with being able to integrate with the arts community around here, and I don’t think we ever managed to do that,” says gallery director Joel Persels, who has been with the City Gallery since its inception, and will leave the federation when the space closes. “There were no significant sales, and there’s not much foot traffic around here. Also, because we support emerging artists, we have no permanent collection and no returning artists. Membership did spike over the last few years, but it just wasn’t enough.”
Despite this setback, both Dickey and Wilson remain confident that Baltimore hasn’t seen the last of the federation. A search for alternative venues to host the City Gallery’s canceled show roster is currently underway, with particular plans to make sure that this year’s Beyond the Looking Glass exhibit happens, and a long-term view toward finding a new space in Baltimore. The Maryland Federation of Art board is also looking for input from local artists who have ideas about how the organization could better serve its needs.
“You have to take a step back sometimes to move forward,” Wilson says. “Closing the City Gallery is a responsible fiscal decision for the MFA right now. But we’ll be back.”
03 March 2004: Constructing Identity (The Lumberjack, Humboldt State University)
HSU graduate Jeriah Hildwine explores human identity with a brush.
Graduate student explores self and humankind through painting
His paintings are bold, intense and sometimes slightly disturbing for their lifelike qualities.
He paints otherworldly self-portraits with eyes that seem to gaze right through you. Jeriah Hildwine is the man who creates such paintings. He uses art to interpret both humankind and himself.
“I’m inspired by the idea of using painting to communicate ideas about human beings both as individuals and a collective,” Hildwine said. “I want to paint about people because we are the unit by which we understand reality.”
Hildwine has been able to devote a lot of time to that goal since graduating from Humboldt State University in December 2002 with a dual degree in art studio and history. He has spent the past year developing a portfolio for applying to graduate school. Hildwine is still on campus, working in his own studio as part of an honors painting class.
Erin Whitman, another HSU graduate in honors painting, has known Hildwine for almost four years.
“He’s an incredibly hard worker,” she said. “When he decides he’s going to do something he takes it all the way, which is as true of his sense of humor and his entire persona as it is of his art.”
That drive brought Hildwine to HSU. The 24-year-old artist grew up in San Diego and came to HSU following the advice of a friend. He had asked his friend to suggest schools where he could find “like-minded people who were creative, free-thinking and artistic.” From those recommendations Hildwine chose HSU to pursue his art, partly because it was both in-state and inexpensive.
“If I had to choose one word to describe Jeriah, it would be ‘determined’,” Teresa Stanley, an art professor at HSU, said. “He has, of course, many other good qualities—he is smart, witty and talented. But his determination sets him apart from the average art student.”
“I’ve been doing art in some form since I was really little,” Hildwine said. He narrowed his artistic interests to illustration during high school and through his first years in college. He focused on science fiction and fantasy illustration.
“I kind of got tricked into doing painting,” he said. Hildwine wanted to learn new painting techniques from his art classes at HSU to make his illustrations look more real. As he learned more and refined his technique Hildwine found himself drawn to painting.
One reason Hildwine said he loves to paint is because “I can share my way of looking at the world with others and hopefully get people to look at something differently than they otherwise would have.”
“His painting skills have improved so much that I depend on him to help me out with beginners who are struggling,” Leslie Price, an HSU art professor who has known Hildwine for three years, said. As for Hildwine’s paintings, Price said, “I think it is interesting in terms of exploring identity and how identity is constructed. He’s doing a great job with it.”
Hildwine draws inspiration for his work from several sources.
“Mostly I develop my content through conversations with friends and fellow artists,” he said. “A lot of it is about myself, especially recent work.”
After graduate school Hildwine plans to teach painting at a college level. He wants to continue painting as well, but not as a career.
“I don’t want to risk having commercial concerns pollute my work,” he said. By teaching, Hildwine hopes to have the financial freedom to pursue “work that isn’t going to be popular or marketable.”
Hildwine’s paintings have been featured in two solo exhibits on campus. He has had paintings in group exhibits, in cluding the show in the Karshner Lounge that ended last week. Restaurants and coffee shops have shown his art, most recently in January at Hey Juan’s in Arcata. His work will be shown at an alumni show at the First Street Gallery in Eureka in June.
Take a peek @ Jeriah Hildwine
Favorite cereal: Muesli...it’s at the Co-Op in the bulk bins
Favorite color: RED...it’s passionate, strong and merciless
Astrological sign: Virgo
Favorite scent: Gunpowder
Favorite animal: A dunkelosteus...it’s a 30-foot long prehistoric fish. They don’t make fish like that anymore.
Favorite movie: Blue Velvet
Favorite band: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
If you could be anywhere else right now, where would it be?
- Outer space
Hometown: San Diego, Calif.
Updated Wednesday, March 03, 2004
Written by Ahnie Litecky