Dil Hildebrand’s Peep Show

Contemporary artist holds gallery opening

By Katrina Tortorici

Dil Hildebrand’s paintings are perhaps one of the least conventional and least traditional pieces of art on canvas that exists in Montreal.  But that’s only one person’s opinion.

Imagine a curtain of massive amounts of pastel colours, vertically streaked across a human-sized canvas, coated with a combination of thin, almost transparent-looking layers of paint and thick, concrete-like coats that swirl like frosting on the edges of each composition.

It looked a little like a mess.But first impressions aren’t always correct. At first, walking into the gallery, the large paintings all seem too similar and perhaps even sloppy, as though he simply streaked some bright colours up and down until the entire canvas has been covered.

However, by peering closely at each work, one will come to notice the blurred images of regular objects and rooms painted beneath the surface of the many vertical colours, as though seeing it all from a distance. It was impressively fascinating, as the logic behind it was far from obvious. But a word with the artist cleared up any misinterpretations:

“I’m inspired by theatre; [the vertical strokes] are like curtains or backdrops on a stage. You’ll also vaguely see the floor, and you can almost feel like you can step onto it through the ‘curtains’,” Hildebrand said.

Linear and quadrant-like shapes are patterns that appear in many of his paintings, which initially seem wild and eccentric, but a closer look reveals stillness and emptiness behind it all.

A section of the gallery reveals some of his much smaller compositions, similar to the content of his larger ones. Approximately 10 are black and white still-life paintings, almost like old photographs, indicating an interesting shift in style.

Hildebrand, age 36, moved to Montreal from Winnipeg to complete his Masters in Fine Arts at Concordia University. He used to work in theatre as a scenic artist and has been painting on canvas for 14 years and has been professional now for five years.

“I’ve always had that artistic aspect in my life,” he said. Hildebrand has held art exhibits in the United States and New Zealand, and will hold his next one in Toronto next September.

His modern style of abstract-realism was a wonder to witness. If the contemporary and unconventional appeal to you, stop by Dil Hildebrand’s “Peep Show” at 372, St. Catherine Ouest, #216. The exhibit will be open to the public from now until Oct. 16.

“I hope for more shows, more exhibits, and maybe even museums,” Hildebrand said.

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