Mountain 1 by Stephen Hilyard

Mountain 1, 2012. Chromogenic print with lightbox. 38 x 54 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Madison, WI


In his recent series of chromogenic prints set in lighboxes, Stephen Hilyard presents five imaginary mountain formations. Generated from photographs he captured of existing lava domes in Iceland, the artist digitally edited each image to render the conical form more symmetrical, a “more perfect” version of itself. In simulating idealized landscapes, Hilyard employs digital technologies to question the power and truthfulness of the photograph in contemporary culture. However, he leaves subtle clues to the manipulated nature of his work, thereby calling attention to its own artifice. By citing and then undermining the visual rhetoric of the Sublime, Hilyard points out our inability to truly capture this state of spiritual transcendence. The mountain, which in many cultures is seen as a bridge between the earthly and the spiritual, appropriately symbolizes the ineffable nature of wonder.


Stephen Hilyard

Stephen Hilyard was born in Britain where he studied architecture. He spent several years living and traveling in Africa until moving to California where he received his MFA from the University of Southern California in 1997. He has since worked for Peter Carlson & Co. and taught at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Hilyard creates artwork in a wide variety of media and his work has been exhibited across the United States and abroad. He is represented by Platform Gallery in Seattle where he has held two solo exhibits. He is currently a Professor of Digital Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.