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Veronika Hilger, Untitled #592, 2024, oil on canvas in artist's frame,

19½ x 15¾ inches (50 x 40 cm)

Veronika Hilger: In Between

 

Exhibition: May 23rd, - June 22nd, 2024

Thursday - Saturday, 10am - 6pm

& by appointment

35 Lispenard Street, New York, NY 10013

In Between is Veronika Hilger’s first solo exhibition in the United States. In this presentation of new paintings, the Munich-based artist places a multitude of influences and elements within her scenes often inspired by nocturnes: the time of day at which the artist tends to work. Hilger borrows and expands upon landscape painting and portraiture while reconciling abstract and figurative motifs. As the title of the show suggests, her compositions find a stasis amidst this astute awareness of the history of painting, while also reconciling complex social and inner-personal themes. Through the interplay and tension found within these forms, Hilger’s paintings offer windows into emotional and psychological states that transcend mere representation of the seen world. 

In viewing Hilger’s works, there is a tendency to grasp for meaning. Our eyes flicker around each painting, trying to make sense of the orientation of color, shape, shadowing, and other compositional tells. Does a horizontal band signify a horizon? When a border extends around the work, are we viewing this scene through a window? Are the central figures meant to be observed, or are they themselves active beings, looking back upon us? Alternatively, this could just be an exercise in aesthetics, one that is the result of Hilger’s highly intentional application – and subtraction – of oil paint. 

 

The title of the show, In Between, references not just the liminal space within which these works operate, but also the multitude of genres which Hilger expounds upon while not committing to any single one. In a number of works in the show, including the suite of five equal-sized paintings which all share a wall, a central form appears. This device evokes portraiture, but the aura which it permeates lends more to landscape painting. In Untitled #546, a striated form, bearing to mind a rocky outcropping, gives way to an instantly recognizable feature: a downturned flower. Yet, this flower seems to bear a luminescent quality, as it casts a similar yellow glow underneath. The rules of organisms in the world of Hilger’s paintings are not taken from our own. 

 

Ultimately, Hilger’s paintings achieve an intense creation of space and world-building within the confines of the canvas. These works also speak to our own means of processing, of grappling with the unfamiliar. We search out similarities between the dozen works in the show, at times casting individual works as standalone if they do not fit the same parameters we have been able to place for other paintings. Even in these foreign structures, we tend to find comfort in the motifs within our own visual language. Hilger’s works allow for a moment of reflection on ourselves, of our own interpretations, through the act of painting.

Installation photography courtesy of Elisabeth Bernstein

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