Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Hilario Gutierrez still lives and works in the Sonoran Desert. He attended Phoenix College, served in the Navy during Vietnam, and worked in photography and cosmetology before pursuing painting seriously in 1994 two days after facing the monolithic stone temples of Monument Valley. At this time, he began painting as a way to visually express his rich ethnic heritage consisting of Aztec and Yaqui Indian from his mother’s family and his father’s Austrian roots. Drawn to acrylics, he experimented with color and form by studying the work of Gerhard Richter and Dan Namingha.
Gutierrez creates abstract, atmospheric paintings reminiscent of landscapes with their strong horizontal lines and varied, distinctive surfaces, patterns, and layers. He identifies atmosphere as the primary philosophy behind his work, saying, “Art must have an atmosphere that allows the viewer to exist within the painting.” His paintings allows viewers to visually meander, engage, interpret, and respond to each work. The artist’s characteristic use of color, subtlety, and nuance tells stories of emotion that invite the viewer in. He says, “I love exploring
earthy, organic colors and textures to provoke an emotional response. This is why I paint.” He adds, “I believe the eye can touch an image and reveal sensation. I create conjoined colors; so, like a prism, there is no separation of one color to the next. Thus my work evokes a different emotion depending on one’s nearness to the canvas.” The chaotic beauty and panorama of the American Southwest, specifically the quiet desperate struggle between its harsh topography and desert life, underscores his work. His abstract style expresses the harmony of the desert’s emotion of line, color, and form.
Gutierrez’s work is exhibited in galleries and fairs across the United States in New Orleans, Scottsdale, Santa Fe, Chicago, Boston, and Denver. He has been profiled in Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine and Luxe Interiors + Design Magazine. His work is held in numerous corporate collections such as UBS, Alliance, Bernstein LP, McDonald's Corporation, Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, St. Regis Hotels, and DMB.