- adam lampton-
- alec strasser-
- amy carpenter-
- catlin rockman-
- danielle krcmar-
- douglass weathersby-
- erica von schilgen-
- hillary tolan-
- james hull-
- kelly carmoody-
- leah giberson-
- liz alexander-
- megan golterman-
- nicole deponte-
- robin mandel-
- samantha fields-
- sue murad-
- esprit de corps-
Hilary Tolan takes viewers into a world where organic materials- grasses, roots, and rock- coexist alongside their stand-ins, silk and plastic replicas of nature.
The works are transformed by manipulation, arrangement, and a blending of the organic and the synthetic. Tolan exploits the facts of fragmented nature and its possible meanings. She explores the fact that nature which was once alive and embedded in an environment, that existed as a part of a system, is now extracted and defunct of its original function.
Tolan asks the viewer to consider the nature of time. In her work, she reflects the desire to keep and save things. Thoughts of memory, loss, and longing pervade much of its quiet beauty.
Silk and plastic replicas of nature, some which appear coated in wax, are found in the work. To preserve something that is presumed to take the place of the very object needing preservation presents a puzzling relationship. Why encase silk and plastics with wax?
Is the plastic now more “natural” because it is encased in wax, or will the objects last even longer? What is being preserved here, is it the cherished object, or the memory attached to it?
In the installation, Beloved, exposed roots and cut branches leave an impression of implied violence, of ending. Bushes and trees are ripped from their environments and a sense of death and sadness exists alongside celebration (the flowers). It is a forgotten landscape. Flowers and roots are strewn about as if thrown aside or windswept. Here we find a place that was once cared for and attended to and now are faced with the effects of time and perhaps neglect.
Photographs appear as that of decaying and fading flowers whose petals are losing their color and becoming a thin transparent membrane. We are reminded of our own skin and its transformation over time. These images are seen alongside views of a lush constructed environment whose boundaries between “original” and manufactured nature are yet unclear.
The impulse to save and the attempt to preserve points directly toward our humanness and as such, our own frailty and mortality. To preserve is a mark against death. It is an attempt to make something last. When we take an object and “save” it and display it, usually the object has undergone some kind of preservation process, taken through specific steps until it is graciously and lovingly put on display.
Not so unlike the dried flower arrangement, which in itself is simultaneously beautiful, sentimental and finally, tinged with sadness, the work asks the viewer to reflect on what once was and then to deal with what is now. This sense of absence, of death and decay and a vain attempt at preservation becomes part of the conversation. One feels a sense of an appreciation and an homage to the beauty of nature and a kind of vanity at the attempt to interrupt its inevitable ending.