10 MAY THRU 16 JUNE 2024

A model world

Accompanying exhibition text by Tara Westermann


Tyler Bright Hilton, A column of air, hard ground, soft ground and aquatint, 15 1/2″ x 11 1/4″


VIVIANEART is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Tyler Bright Hilton that amplify his investigations into imagined realities and the limits of control. Expanding on the disorienting sensibilities of his earlier work, the singular moments Hilton represents reveal glimpses of a world unsettling, ill-omened and uncomfortably recognizable. Inclusive of etchings, an animated short and preparatory materials (sketchbooks, plates, trial proofs), this exhibition explores Hilton’s elliptical process of imagery conception, technical experimentation and material execution.


Unlike Hilton’s wholly fictional and narratively fantastical Minmei Madelynne Pryor series, the etchings that comprise A model world do not follow an explicit narrative. These etchings began as studies into different intaglio techniques but, print by print, a more comprehensive, thematic body of work began to emerge. Presented together, the images infect each other, leaking associations and meanings that hint at ominous connections informed by the infamous Leopold and Loeb murder case from May 1924. This scandalous crime captured the public’s attention as it so fully embodied the intersection of privilege and moral accountability, and more broadly, free-will itself.


Cohesion and affect amongst the works presented in this exhibition are drawn from Hilton’s defiance of narrative convention in favour of ambivalent, more broadly recognized emotional experiences. This veiling of narrative specifics suits his objectives as an artist just fine. As in dreams, Hilton’s interpretations of this imagery serve primarily as scaffolding to hold up his true subject, which is emotion itself. Ordinary scenes and objects vibrate between the mundane and the totemic in a hypnotizing combination of the real and the imagined, the interior and the objective. There is a disconcerting power in not quite knowing that stretches beyond the cerebral to create an encounter far more permeable and open.


Hilton (b. 1979, Waterloo, Canada) earned an MFA from the Chelsea College of Arts (London, UK) and has been the recipient of numerous awards including New Contemporaries and multiple project grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council. Hilton’s work is currently exhibited as part of Beati Pacifici, The Disasters of War at Chiesa di San Samuele (Venice, Italy) and was recently included in For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions across North America including C.G. Boerner (New York, USA); DIANA (New York, USA); Macaulay and Co. Fine Art (Vancouver, Canada) and his work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Archive of Modern Conflict in addition to distinguished private collections throughout Canada, the United States and Europe.

Tara Westermann is a passionate supporter of contemporary Canadian artists and those public spaces that advocate for public engagement with their works. She holds an MA in Contemporary Art from Sotheby’s Institute, NY and a BFA from OCAD University, ON. Tara is currently the Director of Smokestack Gallery in Hamilton, ON.

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