SMASHED: Greg Hill
Gregg Hill transforms the industrial detritus of our consumer society into thoughtful, beautiful and humorous works of art by literally smashing massive 55 and 30 gallon oil drums with a crane and a large weight, then giving them perfectly shiny, brilliantly colored surfaces. The use of candy colors applied to discarded material from our consumer culture assert a kinship to Pop Art. Hill’s works suggest Pop Art only superficially however, as they are ultimately meditations inviting the viewer to discover meaning beyond the observed world. The ambiguous forms and crayon colors can also suggest toys and cartoons. Such light heartedness is yet another subtle shift in perspective that can lead a viewer to new perceptions. Gregg Hill lives and works in New York with his wife and three children. He held his first solo exhibition in New York in 2008. At the peak of his career in New York as a leader in his industry, Hill left to embark on an inward journey in search of a more meaningful set of values. In Vietnam, as a Buddhist disciple, he embraced the life-long calling of an artist. His artistic practice is also a practice in meditation, resulting in works imbued with a palpable spiritual aura.
Hill’s works are simultaneously light heartedly playful and oddly alien. The corroded solid metal has become fluid and soft. The bright colors are immediately engaging, yet somehow off. The three-dimensional object, at first so assertive, slowly reveals itself to be somehow deflating – collapsing in on itself. The series to be exhibited is titled “Belief”. Each work is a result of Hill’s meditative process and represents a belief to be questioned, possibly discarded, possibly replaced by another belief. What do we believe? What do we believe we are seeing? What do we believe is true? Hill’s works speak of impermanence and transformation. His titles are clues to his investigation; “breath in breath out”, “boy in a dream, dream in a boy” and “Non-Belief”. Mark David Cohen writes eloquently in the 2008 Gregg Hill catalog, “The art of Gregg Hill...... is a vision of the world dissipating, of the world dissolving like a shifting, thinning, brightening set of mists, a vision of all that we believed to be permanent, unalterable, and inescapable parting like a veil, as if our three-dimensional world of defined and definite forms were yawning open to reveal a new dimension of new and transformative formulations-an art created for the sake of instigating an insight into what lies beyond.”