Hilary Tolan: Emerge

January 30-February 24, 2019
Opening Reception: Friday, February 1, 2019, 5:00-8:00 pm
Closing Reception: Sunday, February 24, 2019, 3:00-5:00 pm

  • Hilary Tolan

    Forestland 1, incised photograph, 11 x 15 inches, 2018.

    Forestland 1
  • Hilary Tolan

    Forestland 2, incised photograph, 11 x 15 inches, 2018.

    Forestland 2
  • Hilary Tolan

    Forestland 3, incised photograph, 11 x 15 inches, 2018.

    Forestland 3
  • Hilary Tolan

    Rhododendron Forest 8, incised photograph, 10 x 7.5 inches, 2018.

    Rhododendron Forest 8
  • Hilary Tolan

    Rhododendron Forest 12, incised photograph, 7.5 x 10 inches, 2018.

    Rhododendron Forest 12
  • Hilary Tolan

    Plant Portrait 1, graphite on mylar, 10 x 14 inches, 2018.

    Plant Portrait 1
  • Hilary Tolan

    Plant Portrait 2, graphite on mylar, 11 x 17 inches, 2018.

    Plant Portrait 2

Artist Page
Press Release
Foritano, James. "A February Trifecta: signs of growth in Boston's SoWa district." Artscope Magazine, December 26, 2018.
"Hilary Tolan: Emerge." Kingston Blog, February 11, 2019.

Artist Statement

I want to take you on a journey into this forest. It is a dense place, filled with an abundance of growth. Tangles of branches and masses of rhododendron leaves at times completely fill a given space. Lush, deep greens dominate; the reddish bark of branches and limbs exist alongside hints of water and sky that appear occasionally. An image of a meandering branch emerges to become a line. An incised line first appears as negative space and then shifts and seems as if it is now drawn. A pop and flash of light bleaches out color on a branch, washing out clusters of leaves and deepening shadows. An inky darkness, mimicking nighttime, contrasts with the brightly illuminated surfaces. Sometimes the light we see is actual daylight recorded; at others it is artificial light manipulating the scene, variously flattening the space or deepening it, pushing it further back from us. Can you tease out this space, understand it, what you are perceiving, seeing or not seeing? There is a sense of mystery here, of images revealed while simultaneously they are obscured and manipulated.

Photographs of dense forests are countered by ethereal spare pencil drawings of plants requiring up close viewing to discern the delicate lines. Color is pared all the way back solely to graphite and white gouache appears but once. It feels as if a distillation of sorts is happening. The images of an everyday weed become portrait-like and you must slow down to truly see the whole of the image and to be with this subtle likeness. The drawings exist on frosted mylar which hints at breath or atmosphere. As they emerge from this transparent ground, we may be reminded of the plants ephemeral nature. To slow down your pace will allow you to absorb the stillness and intricacy offered in each image.

So come with me on a meandering walk through this forest. Slow down, take in this space, be with this feeling of going inward to the quiet self and into this quiet mysterious land.

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