Over the past month, the work of local artist Richard Hill has been on display in the gallery in the Robsham building. The pieces on display are a set of paintings from Hill’s show, Not Just Another Pretty Face, which is made up of what he has described as “Group Iconographies”. Each piece is made up of a variety of different, iconic portraits that are taken from an assortment of places; some are from movies, pop culture, comics, coins, sculptures, and others. However, all the portraits revolve around a singular, often humorous theme and are typically juxtaposed to the surrounding portraits. The most interesting aspect of the paintings is the theme itself, which is not made expressly clear. Rather, the artist leaves hints to the theme in the title of the piece and the portraits themselves. The beauty in this is that each viewer is tasked with discovering the theme on their own. Hill states that his intention was to create a puzzle of sorts, that each person would solve individually, and that there isn’t just one correct interpretation of his paintings. While some paintings are easier to “solve” than others, all promote a different type of thinking than we often find in the arts. Not only do the paintings easily engage the viewer, but they also make it very accessible to find a deeper meaning behind each piece and truly appreciate it.
Mr. Hill’s Iconographies are certainly a wonderful and thought-provoking addition to the gallery. His paintings will only be on display until November 18, and I highly recommend you stop by to experience his show before it is too late.