Maggie Hills

News, artwork and information



Michele Grabner, Artforum, October 2008, Artforum Archive

Julie Penfold, ‘Dream as if your life depends on it’ at the Vardy Gallery, 24 Hour Museum, 24 September 2004. ( )

Mark Evans, ‘Billboards of Loneliness’, Metro, October 2004

Christoph Gröner, ‘Perlentauchen im Berliner Off’,, 2004

Alexander Dumbadze, ‘Material Process Memory’, TFAA, 1999

David Pagel, ‘Artifice and Faking it are Not the Same Thing’, Core Catalogue, MFAH, 1999

Bill Davenport, ‘Maggie Hills and Paul Whiting at Robert McClain & Co.’, Artlies, Autumn 1999

Shaila Dewain, ‘Remaining Calm’, Houston Press, April 1999

Lane Relyea, ‘The Ins and Outs of this years Core Show’, Core catalogue, MFAH, 1998


Mihele Grabner, Critics Picks, Artforum Online, October 2008

In painting, juxtaposing geometric forms with organically structured systems typically sets up incongruent pictorial relationships that evoke theories of representational critique and other endgame strategies. Yet in “BLUNDERLAND”—an exhibition of new works by British painter Maggie Hills—this diametric opposition becomes an unexpected emotional quagmire. Her lush landscapes, inhabited by singular modernist buildings or architectonic sculptures, elicit empathy, passion, and sentimentality. These high-pitched emotions resonate neither from her sketchy atmospheric landscapes nor from the geometric figures held within; instead they spring from modern man’s Sisyphean attempt to bridge nonrelative forms and the ideas they represent. The largest of the seven paintings in the exhibition, Disturb the Comfortable/Comfort the Disturbed (all works 2008), is an abundant landscape vignetted with flowering rosebushes. The middle ground depicts a pond reflecting a clear cerulean sky, while foothills mark the horizon. Breaking up this Elysian vista, Hills inserts vertical and converging lines along the edge of the pond, prompting the contours of a Mies van der Rohe–like glass box. Untitled depicts a stark, primarily white Bauhaus-style building articulated with planes of yellow, green, black, and red. Here Hills nestles a modernist signifier in a landscape full of old pine trees, wrought with rapid, multidirectional brushwork. The picture’s salmon-pink sky contrasts the primary colors composing the architectural box as insistently as the flux of the landscape resists the inert edifice. These two paintings also each sport a horizontal band at the top and bottom of the picture plane, suggesting photographic cropping and Greenbergian flatness—yet more distressing disparity.

Bill Davenport, ‘Maggie Hills, Paul Whiting, Robert McClain & Co., Houston’, Artlies, Summer 1999

“Hills’ works invite then deny the aesthetic enjoyment of conventionally picturesque images. Ambivalent about the desirability of paintings which present authentic beauty, Hills neatly side steps the problem by painting, not beautiful pictures of nature, but pictures of pictures of nature….If this work was displayed in the average watercolour society roundup, it would stand out for its large scale and mechanical execution, rather than its prettiness and vacancy. The work has a wallpaper-like blandness at odds with the intense, meticulous labor of its manufacture: nothing this pleasant and innocuous can be true. …[however, the] sweet romantic haze is only half ironic. It is as Hills has devised a way to paint a pretty landscape without losing her avant-garde credibility.”

Shaila Dewan, ‘Remaining Calm’, Houston Press, 14 August, 1999

“Hills’ renditions are as thin and honest as the images are banal; the bare canvas shows as do breakdowns in Hills’s faithfulness to the image: fuckups, drips, and tiny hiccups – like when wrinkled paper gets run through the copy machine…[the work] seems ironically tranquil, told in the vacant yet faintly desperate tone of a Joan Didier novel.”

“Hills’ careful, elegant attempts to represent foliage…dissolve into watery, illegible patches, mistakes about which the painter seems entirely unconcerned, the way one is unconcerned with how one’s hair looks when one is camping.”


Written by maggiehills

July 21, 2007 at 12:37 pm

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