What do you do when your afraid of something? Do you avoid it or confront it? It's always better to face your fears. Artist Daphne Hill is doing that through her artwork.
I met Daphne Hill several years ago, I first saw one of her paintings of a cherry with some abstract figures that looked like a chromosomes in the background. When I asked her about it she said, "Yes they are chromosomes, but there is one more than there should be."
If you studied science you know that an extra chromosome usually results in some type of abnormality or syndrome. It's dark subject matter for art, and it's one that Daphne Hill embraces.
The daughter of a doctor and a biologist, disease is a source of inspiration for Hill. She was exposed to science and medicine at an early age and it has manifested itself in her art. Most of Hill's paintings include someones name and the disease that ails them.
Hill's earlier work depicts chromosome abnormalities, she compares them to simple mutations found in fruit. Having a sister diagnosed with Down syndrome, Hill was worried about having children of her own. She faced her fear by painting some of the horrible things that can happen to a fetus during pregnancy.
Hill's latest work focuses on sexual diseases, mold and avian flu. Hill's silhouettes, bring you back to a different era, portraying couples in a romantic setting, surrounded by the disease. It gives the viewer the idea that the people in the portrait are unaware of what is wrong with them. The use of 1950s erotic imagery gives her work an interesting twist. At first you see an attractive pin up model, but then you notice the disease surrounding the figure. It makes you think twice about what the artist is saying.
Is there a connection between the disease and exploitation of women? Is the artist making a political statement? During World War II women took on the roles of men and after it was over they were encouraged to go back to being homemakers. Throughout the 1950's the United States government conducted experiments using Syphilis as a means of biological warfare.
Hill teaches drawing at Grossmont College and painting at the New School of Architecture and Design. She co-owns Naughty Blonde Redux, a clothing company selling one-of-a-kind jewelry and clothing apparel made from vintage publications and retro imagery. She is also the mother of two children.
Her work is on display at the Andi Campognone Projects Gallery in Pomona. The show is called "Venereal Narratives and Other Catchy Tales". There is a closing reception Saturday, February 11 from 6-9pm the show runs until February 25, 2012.
Wonka Gallery Founder