ART VAIL VALLEY GALLERY GUIDE, July, 2016
— by kimberly Nicoletti
Hamilton Aguiar grew up in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, a region of eternal spring and summer. His introduction to New York inspired his distinctive artistic vision, which captures the varying shades of landscapes.
He garnered attention at his first show in 2004, when his monochromatic, textural style stood out from the majority of bold-colored paintings. A year later, he had created an identity with his trademarked Solitudes.
Most of the subjects of his paintings seem simple — tree trunks, evergreens, tonal panels. And yet, his technique, which employs oil over silver or copper leaf, with resin, results in both a stimulating and calming effect.
“It’s very simple,” he says of his art. “It speaks for itself.”
And yet, all of his work delves deeper.
His pieces change with the light, revealing a shining sky or an intriguing shadow. As the eye settles into the monochromatic piece, foregrounds dissolve into warmer or cooler backgrounds and reflections create movement within the two-dimensional work. It’s clear that Aguiar pays attention to not just landscapes, but also shadows, skyscapes and light.
“(My paintings) are quiet, very peaceful,” he says. “You won’t get tired of looking at them, every time.”
Part of his depth extends beyond the canvas, or panels, and into the human experience itself.
“I relate the seasons with life experience,” he says.
When he landed in New York in March, 1987, “I saw all the trees dry, with no leaves, and I thought everything was dead,” he says. “Then, spring (came) and it was amazing to see everything come to life.”
He contrasts life in Latin America, where people are a little more laid back, and yet everything “is always the same,” to North America, where people prepare themselves for the winter solitude, and then, when spring arrives, they appreciate it, emerging with a lighter, happier attitude. Aguiar has discovered a way to reflect these mutable emotions, and most aptly, appreciation of the changing seasons, in his paintings.
And, in keeping with his ever-changing perspectives, about eight years ago he began to sculpt, although he considers his landscape Solitudes his main series.
“I like to play with a lot of materials,” he says.
His sculptures range from mountain peaks; trees; a 12-foot by 12-foot dog, a spoof on a similar sculpture that sold for millions of dollars; and a huge lion that now “lives” in Dubai.
But no matter what shape or tone his art takes, he remains loyal to the narrative of nature, and its budding inspiration.