UTILITY: Surreal Dreams

By Jo Phillips

Looking at Dan Hillier’s artworks one could feel as though one where in a dream where Eros and Thanatos, beauty and Victorian darkness intertwine. Hillier’s work aesthetic is reminiscent of Max Ernst’s 1933“Une semaine de bonté” (“a week of kindness”), a silent novel made of 184 exquisite surreal illustrations that Ernst carefully conceived by assembling together using 19th century illustrated novels and catalogues. Hillier’s work is heavily inspired by English Victorian imagery, engravings, etchings and paintings. His work is dark, dramatic and mysterious,coming from his desire to connect and “transport” the viewers. Although Hillier’s favourite media is black ink, he mostly works following a process of digital collage. He names Mark Rothko and Louise Bourgeois as some of his favourite artists, and although their work is at first glance quite dissimilar to Hillier’s, one can see the influence of their visual mystery and surreal beauty on Hillier’s work. Dan Hillier regularly posts images of his new “altered engravings”, as he defines his work, on his blog. The artist recently returned from a long stay in the Peruvian Amazon, where he explored further the mysterious side of life he depicts in his artwork, using the visionary plant ayahuasca under the guidance of Shipibo shamans. Now back in the U.K., Hillier will soon release five new artworks, out on the 23rd of April 2015. Also, a limited edition of screenprinted copies of these pieces, entitled “What Remains”, “Molecule”, “Cellar Door”, “Aperture”, “Centre” and “Crown”, will be available for purchase from April the 25th. All Dan Hillier’s work is available to view and purchase from his website, ArtRepublic and directly from the artist at The Other Art Fair. unnamed (2)