back to Contents page

Larger views of these images may be seen at the web sites of
Edward Thorp Gallery
and
Hilary Brace.

Hilary Brace at Edward Thorp Galleries

by Gordon Fitch

 


Hilary Brace:Untitled




Hilary Brace:Untitled




Hilary Brace:Untitled




Hilary Brace:Untitled




Hilary Brace:Untitled


 
At first glance, one thinks one is looking a photographs of clouds. These works -- they are far from photographs -- are presented in the earnest black frames we are so used to seeing around photographs; they're black and white, or rather, innumerable shades of gray. Then, however, we see that's there's something unsettling about them. Nature's clouds, while they often look like one thing or another, or are said to skip like lambs or brood upon the deep, have their own purposes and modes and there is always something about them which does not pertain to us, which passes us by. We may regret this distance, but we are likely also to be relieved by it; these enormous messages are not meant for us in our lowly estate.

By contrast, every particle of these drawings, for that is what they are, speaks to the mind, not at all in terms of narrative or symbol, but in terms of movement, pattern, mood, stucture, rhythm, just as music does. And yet they do remain cloudlike. It as if the gods had finally begun to make themselves plain, instead of constantly reminding us that their ways are not our ways, and so we are greeted by these abstract objects which are at the same time becoming disturbingly familiar. We are looking at a form of art which is at once naturalistic and at the same time utterly abstract, not a representation of anything but itself.

The works are relatively small, which also reminds us of photography, not the photography of today, in which prints the size of ships or large buildings are carelessly tossed out, but the photography of a previous age, constrained by technical considerations to focus carefully on a limited set of objects, a certain scene. We have to peer down into the d