Dil Hildebrand: You buy land, you buy stones; you buy meat, you buy bones

9 November - 21 December 2019

Pierre-Francois Ouellette art contemporain is pleased to present "You buy land, you buy stones; you buy meat, you buy bones", a solo exhibition of new works by Dil Hildebrand.

For this exhibition, Hildebrand arranges a selection of anachronistic sculptures, paintings and drawings. Generated from an array of pre-modern and modern sources, enlisting Medieval, Cubist and Constructivist formal vocabularies, Hildebrand’s ideas and images emerge out of a dialogue with art history in the wake of conceptual art. 

Hildebrand’s paintings, made with acrylic media and nylon flocking on acrylic panels, are based on rugs and wallpaper motifs, palettes and textures from Medieval and Victorian origins. Flocking, a surface treatment of filament powder used as early as 3000 years ago, is now commonly used to make carpets and to decorate wallpaper and consumer products. Applied with silkscreens onto clear acrylic panels that echo touch-screens, Hildebrand uses contemporary materials and processes to make paintings that cut across time, linking new technologies with their lineage in traditional image craft. The sculptures that Hildebrand introduces into the company of his paintings similarly appear suspended in time, recalling bas-relief sculpture and church statuary while applying a decidedly modern cut-and-paste approach. Made of wood, plaster, foam, sand and sawdust, the sculptures echo pre-modern objects excavated from the earth, like Pompeiian relics. The 9’ long frieze sculpture Procession, the first section of an ongoing artwork, is derived from a tradition of Western art depicting long ceremonial processions attending church clerics through city streets. Read (and created) from left to right, Hildebrand’s version is populated with more-or-less abstract and representational forms, composing a narrative arc and appearing to represent several actions unfolding, or perhaps a series of the artist’s thoughts in process. 

The title of Figure 1.m is a play on words, referring to its clearly figural form and also to the type of textual notation that indicates an image when speaking of something from the past. What is essentially a fully abstract object is made humanoid by the addition of a robe. The figure gestures enigmatically, as though a story might be discerned, but nonetheless does not reveal the meaning of the symbols that adorn it. 


Born in 1974 in Winnipeg, Dil Hildebrand lives and works in Montreal. He has recently mounted a major exhibition at the Art Gallery of Burlington, ON, and is currently exhibiting Dancing on the Grave, a duo exhibition with Patrick Thibert at Woodstock Gallery, ON. His work is included in public collections such as the National Gallery of Canada, the Musee d’art contemporain de Montreal and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. This will be Dil Hildebrand's fifth solo exhibition with the gallery.  

The artist would like to thank James Gardner, Dominique Leclerc-Catala, Cathia Pagotto, Cassandre Boucher, Atelier Circulaire and the Canada Council for the Arts.