Patrick Hillman: TOTAL wreck
August 26 – October 9, 2015
Reception and Artist Talk: Wednesday Aug 26, 5-7pm
The University Art Gallery at California State University, Chico is pleased to present TOTAL wreck, a solo exhibition of new sculptural work by San Francisco based artist Patrick Hillman.
The title of the show TOTAL wreck refers to the artist’s intentional strategy of appropriating and misusing household materials and forms where the end result at times reveals a failed aesthetic or revels in the confused process through which is was made. Hillman makes use of bath soap, kitty litter, pillowcases, venetian blinds and baking pans to explore a domesticity that teeters between anxiety and control, hygiene and filth, purity and perversion.
The exhibition includes the mixed media installation Breakdown & let it all out, 2015, where Pepto-Bismol, steel wool, laundry detergent and cough drops along with plaster, resin and wax, mix and clash in a molded potpourri of toxic color and textures. Cast from cake molds and assembled into several layered stacks, the resulting forms are simultaneously a happy accident and total mess.
Hillman further explores the contrast of household materials and decorative forms in Keep it clean, a wall sculpture consisting of 72 ornate plaques cast from hand and body soaps. Each plaque bears the same banal poem–an ode to Mother–yet each is made unique through the unpredictability of the various soaps during the casting and the continuing dehydrating process. Made in an array of colors from muddy browns to pastel pink and garish purple, the warped edges and smudged words of each plaque, along with the fading colors and scents reveal the intentional entropy triggered by Hillman’s domestic alchemy.
Hillman shifts from material experiments to weird juxtapositions in the piece Phew!…it’s only a perversion, comprised of a pristine stack of folded linens topped with a broken package of hotdogs. Function is materially undermined in My mom is more afraid of bedbugs than terrorists, a set of venetian blinds realistically handcrafted from paper. While Nightlight, a wall piece cast from candle wax and molded into a wreath of roses draped around male buttocks portends the function of its title with an illuminated anus. Imbued with a sense of humor, Hillman’s perverted domesticity recasts housework as an artistic labor where the resulting sculptures are as likely to be absurd as poignant.
Patrick Hillman is a Jersey-bred San Francisco based artist. His work has been featured in exhibitions at Right Window Gallery, Southern Exposure, SF Camerawork and SomArts among other venues throughout the Bay Area. Hillman received his MFA from the California College of Arts, San Francisco in 2009 and his BA in Studio Art from Humboldt State University in 2006.