In reviewing Hilary Brace’s drawings, the New York Times said, “once in a while you come across an art of such refined technique that it seems the product of sorcery more than human craft…” Starting with the smooth surface of polyester film darkened with charcoal, Brace works in a reductive manner by removing charcoal with erasers and other hand made tools. Despite the photographic veracity of her technique, Brace composes her images without premeditation, through an explorative process that allows them to unfold in unanticipated directions. Her subjects are based upon clouds, water, mist and mountains, but she takes these forms to sublime and unimaginable new heights. As Christopher Knight remarked in the Los Angeles Times, her work is “like a Vija Celmins drawing made Baroque, [it] conjures ephemeral poetics of light and space.” For all their vastness and grandeur, Brace’s drawings are relatively small and intimate. As Leah Ollman observed in Art in America, these drawings “put those two realms – the private and the cosmic – within reach of each other.” (via)
“When I compose an image I work without premeditation, beginning with only a vague suggestion, so the places I make often surprise me as they unfold in a series of unanticipated discoveries. The subjects change and shift as a nascent world comes slowly into focus. Even though my desire is to create places and events that are vivid and seem true—to make impossible places tangible—they stay elusive and enigmatic to me.
In the end, the drawings are both a record of discovery and a means of re-experiencing the mystery. They also remind me of our desire to search for truth and meaning as we encounter and attempt to define our shifting world, even if such a search might be futile.” – Hilary Brace