Note: This exhibit is currently only available to those with Cal Lutheran swipe card access. On view April 1– August 13, 2021
Art and poetry cannot do without each other… Poetry – not the particular art of writing verses, but a process both more general and more primary; that intercommunication between the inner being of the human self which is a kind of divination. ~Clinton Hill, 1968
Clinton Hill (American, 1922-2003) was a prolific abstract artist who worked alongside friends such as Mark Rothko, John Ferren, Pat Adams, Barbara Chase-Riboud, and Man Ray. He spent much of his career in New York, where he was a member of the New York School and regularly exhibited with the American Abstract Artists Group.
His paintings often rely on geometric shapes, defined edges, and styles such as minimalism and color field. His pulp works also set up a similar contrast between color and negative space, where the very walls become the ground that the works stand apart from. His paper collages from the 1960s utilize newspaper, magazines, and political campaign posters relating to the Vietnam War, Feminism, and elections.
Originally from rural Idaho, he studied art at the University of Oregon before being drafted in 1943. He served as a commander of a minesweeper in the Pacific, where he met Allen Tran, his life partner from then until Hill’s death in 2003.
This exhibit samples the breadth of Hill’s career, with works in each decade from 1965 to 2000, demonstrating the varied extent of his artistic activity. Earlier works combine hard colors with washes and fading, while later works stray from defining painterly aspects and instead focus on the production of material. In all cases though, a key element of his style is the differing results he manifests from the combination of suspension and pigment.
A catalogue produced by Royale Projects about the artist’s work is available for download here.
All works in this exhibit were generous donated to the California Lutheran University permanent art collection in 2015 by the Clinton Hill and Allen Tran Foundation. Special thanks to trustees Marilyn Pearl Loesberg and Karla Jimenez for their work bringing these pieces into the collection, and friends of the gallery Gerhard Apfelthaler and (the late) Jerry Heller for facilitating.