Tansey Contemporary proudly presents The Power of Line, Chris Hill Solo Exhibition October 26 thru December 7, 2019. The opening reception will occur Saturday, October 26 from 2-4 pm and Hill will be present to deliver a brief artist talk. The Power of Line showcases new energetic, abstract, geometric freestanding and wall sculptures by Santa Fe-based artist Chris Hill. Line, Hill says, remains not only the foundational element to all artwork but also the lens through which he experiences the world; this show represents the culmination of his twenty-five year exploration of line.
Hill's signature style explores the interplay of line with form, volume, and color. These new works radiate and fan out from a central diagonal axis, seeming to reach or kick out with a dancer’s weightlessness and grace. The dramatic movement of the individual shapes within each work create tectonic-like shifts in volume. It’s as if the various elements are poised to slip and slide against each other. His works evoke a distinct Modernist aesthetic focused on line, color, and form.
Hill begins each piece with a simple line drawing that he then translates into a three-dimensional work in his welding studio. Hill first learned welding as an apprentice at Iuka, Mississippi’s Yellow Creek Nuclear Plant and later began incorporating the method into his artworks, first as custom frames, then as furniture, and finally as sculpture. He then fuses his painting and sculptural practices into each work. He balances the angular, linear qualities of his works with soft, ombré surface colors painted with feathery brushstrokes. He slowly builds layer after layer of translucent paint and glaze to create immense depth similar to a desert sky. As a result, his sculptures have the feel of color field paintings. This sense of hybridity makes Hill’s work especially unique.
Hill sites the landscape and light of Santa Fe for his new richer and more vibrant color palette. Before moving to Santa Fe in 2015, Hill lived and worked in Chicago where he says his factory-style studio windows, lots of cloudy days, and the urban decay of the area surrounding his studio contributed to that period’s muted, gray palette. By contrast, his Santa Fe painting studio serves as a solarium where the natural light and vivid colors of the landscape combine to dazzling effect in works like Playa Mística where the buttery yellows evoke the midday sun while the rich blues and teals call to mind the morning sky and ocean. Often his works are inspired by some form of travel or experience such as The Oath, which represents his unspoken oath to stay true to his artistic vision.
The exhibition features large- and medium-scale wall sculptures as well as table-top sized freestanding sculptures. The smaller works begin with the remnants and scrap from the larger works, adding a sense of connection or lineage to the show as a whole. Like Hill’s past work, these new pieces strive to toy with the dichotomy of connection and disconnection. As the viewer moves in space around each work, the lines within each piece connect, disconnect and reconnect as if choreographed.
Born in Port Arthur, Texas, Chris Hill grew up in North Mississippi and lived in Chicago, Illinois before relocating to Santa Fe, New Mexico. He studied design and graduated from the American Academy of Art in Chicago where he also taught digital design for many years. He has exhibited at SOFA Chicago, Art New York, Art Miami, Art Chicago, Palm Beach Modern and Contemporary, Art Palm Beach, The LA Art Show, and Expo Chicago. His work is held in public and private collections worldwide.