Los Angeles

Dennis Hilger

Dushane Gallery

Dennis Hilger’s exhibition of 20 richly ornamented paintings, almost all from 1987, was entitled “Ancient Memories,” evoking Norman Mailer’s novel Ancient Evenings and pursuing a similar course of fantasy and history. (He even uses the title Ancient Evenings for one of the paintings.) Hilger’s work suggests artifacts of a cult of luxury, dreams, and death through an iconography playfully borrowed from the art of ancient Egypt. Seen here in this Sunset Boulevard gallery, the paintings mirrored the seductive treasures found beyond the gallery doors. Rivers of lapis lazuli and rivulets of rose madder spill across the sand-textured planes of these abstract landscapes, while a lake of emerald pigment, as in Celestial Waters, flickers with silica chips. These “celestial waters” are free from the bitter ironies of contemporary life but not from the larger ironies wrought by time, physical

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