Goings On About Town - Susan Hiller in The New Yorker
11 April 2023
“Rough Seas,” a posthumous exhibition devoted to this artist’s long-running fascination with postcards of the British coast—a tempestuously alluring genre of miniatures—reveals how conceptually fruitful a single subject can be when it’s explored across nearly five decades. Hiller, who died in 2019, at the age of seventy-nine, was born in Florida and moved to the United Kingdom in the late nineteen-sixties. Initially, her gridded presentations of repurposed Edwardian-era images found in seaside junk shops served, in part, as monuments to the anonymous workers who had hand-tinted them. Later, Hiller sorted her source material thematically and enlarged the pictures, as seen in “Storm Scenes,” from 2015, whose twelve pictures were hand-colored—with blue skies and flashes of pink atop sepia—by the artist herself. The nine-part “Rough Moonlit Nights,” also from 2015, is a gloomy seduction: the postcards have all the Romantic angst and allure of a Caspar David Friedrich painting, their gloomy power undiminished by their mass-produced origins.
By Johanna Fateman for The New Yorker.
Susan Hiller: Rough Seas is on view through April 15.