Artist Meghan Hildebrand challenges audiences

New exhibit highlights another departure for local painter

When her new show Cloud Hands opens on Thursday, September 29, at Space Gallery, Powell River painter Meghan Hildebrand will once again break away in a new direction.

“In the creation of Cloud Hands, I allowed myself to be pulled in different directions, exploring a bunch of new ideas,” said Hildebrand. “When I felt limited by the paint brush, I tried new tools. I put new colours together and explored new imagery. I was rewarded with a few paintings that, for me, break new ground.”

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Hildebrand said she cannot guess what the work says to people, or what people will say of the work when it is all shown together.

“I’ve never done anything like it, seen anything like it, and it’s wide open to experience and interpret,” she said.

The show, which debuted this summer at Yukon Arts Centre in Whitehorse, is a motion exercise in the sound of the words and images it evokes, she added.

“I think of watching the clouds change shape,” said Hildebrand. “I think of gentleness, weightlessness, as well as the fingers of branches combing through fog, which we see here on the coast.”

Hildebrand said the new show is from a different point of view compared to her earlier works.

“In previous paintings, I often presented a birds-eye view,” she said. “In this series, I was curious about looking up to mountains, up to the sky.”

According to Michael Warren, owner of Victoria-based Madrona Gallery, which has been representing Hildebrand since 2010, major collectors are paying attention to her work.

“She’s with some of the top galleries in the country,” said Warren. “If you look at [Winnipeg’s] Mayberry Fine Art, they are a big player in the Canadian art market, if not one of the biggest. To be introduced to their stable right off the bat as young as she was is a huge thing as an artist in this country.”

It was through Mayberry, Warren said, that a Canadian financial institution purchased a number of large-scale Hildebrand pieces. Victoria-based Madrona has also sold her work to private collections all over the globe, including Switzerland, England, and two major collectors in Dubai.

“It’s something we’re really excited to see, that major collectors are starting to latch on to what she’s doing,” said Warren.

According to Warren, collectors are taking notice of Hildebrand because she is courageous and not only different, but very accessible. She paints with a hybrid of styles, he said, that makes people jump out of their comfort zone and explore the ideas she’s presenting in her work.

“Meghan is strong enough to take that risk and change her work each year and develop new ideas,” said Warren. “Artists can get held down in figuring out what works and sticking with it, whereas with Meghan, she’s constantly re-evaluating what she’s doing and challenging herself with new ideas and new motifs. There’s always that consistent voice, as there is in any great artist’s work.”

Copyright © Powell River Peak

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