27 FEBRUARY - 12 APRIL 1998
Gary Hill is known internationally for his video-based sculptures and installations. In Reflex Chamber, he uses video, sound, text and light to explore the nature of vision and perception. The Rice Gallery’s presentation of Reflex Chamber is Hill’s first solo exhibition in the Southwest, and will allow Houston audiences to experience the most recent developments in his work.
“This is an exciting time for video. Many artists are making inventive uses of new electronic technologies. Gary Hill has been one of the international leaders in this respect, for he uses new media to make compelling, and sometimes dazzling, works of art. By featuring Gary Hill: Reflex Chamber in its exhibition program, FotoFest has recognized video’s growing importance to contemporary art and visual culture,” said Stephanie Smith, exhibition curator. “The Rice Gallery is delighted to bring Hill and his work to Houston.”
Visitors to the Rice Gallery will encounter a chamber built within the gallery, which they enter through a sliding door. Within this darkened environment, which partially replicates the interior of a camera or a human eye, a series of video projections bounce from a mirror to a white tabletop. These images include a slow scan around the facade of a home; a partially obstructed view through the window of a train; a still-camera shot of the sea at night; and the face of Hill himself. A strobe light provides visual punctuation. Flashes of light assault the senses, temporarily obliterating the video images and eliciting a visceral response from the viewer. Meanwhile, a spoken text can be heard. Hill digitally altered the text (compressing it at some points and stretching it at others), so that it can only be understood intermittently. These effects are replicated by graphics placed outside the chamber in the remainder of the gallery space. A variation of Reflex Chamber was first presented at White Cube in London from December 1996 through January, 1997; the presentation at the Rice Gallery is Reflex Chamber’s American premiere.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Born in Santa Monica, California in 1951, Hill moved to Woodstock, New York in 1969 and studied at the Art Students League. Originally a sculptor, Hill began working with sound and video in the early 1970s and has produced a large body of work of both single-channel video works and mixed-media installations. Hill has received numerous fellowships from the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations as well as the National Endowment for the Arts. Since 1985, Hill has lived in Seattle where he established a video program at the Cornish College of the Arts. Selected solo exhibitions since 1990 include Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France, (1993), the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle (1994), Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, England (organized in collaboration with the Tate Gallery Liverpool, 1994); the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (1996), Westfäflisches Landesmuseum, Münster, Germany (1997), and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (1998). The artist currently lives in Seattle.