MULTI-MEDIA ARTIST/POET ARICA HILTON
“One thing artists have in common is their propensity to alert people to pay attention to what is right and more often, what is wrong in the world.”
CHICAGO – ARICA HILTON, a Chicago-based multi-media artist opens her solo exhibition at HILTON | ASMUS CONTEMPORARY, located in the River North Arts District in Chicago.
The exhibition features a series of oil on canvas and acrylic on acrylic paintings infused with recycled plastic. The theme, MULTIVERSE, comes from Hilton’s love of the theories of Quantum Mechanics, String Theory, and Multiverses; and the connection between human beings, the mechanics of the brain and the infinite or parallel universes yet to be discovered.
Hilton has created a series of eco-conscious paintings using recycled plastic water bottles infused in her oil and acrylic as a commentary on the effects of discarding plastic without thought to where it will end up. As in the cycle of life, birth and rebirth, the plastic becomes the water in her paintings.
Poetry may be the springboard to her works, but Hilton finds the current state of the world a powerful catalyst to create something of value; to society, to individuals, to humanity in sometimes subtle, sometimes highly audible ways.
Describing Hilton’s paintings, Rose McInerney of WomanScape writes:
“We start with a big bang as Hilton takes us deep into the universe, its constellation of stars, and the rich, poetry-filled, pages of history. The art of poet/painter Arica Hilton is as grand in scale as her mythical journey. Arica invites us into her illuminating quest for larger truths about our existence and understanding of self in what can only be called a fantastical tour de force! Her innovative talent for melding past and present is echoed in the weaving strokes of her paintbrush and her creative gift for poetry. Both present a luminescent tapestry of storied history as effortless as cool waters trickling down a verdant hill. In them, we escape to another world. Her paintings illustrate the subtleties of her gift as we slide through soft, easy movements focused on elemental forces like water, earth, wind, and sky images. But don’t be deceived by their quiet ability to disarm and penetrate. Much like a beautiful Venus-fly-trap, they force us to look for meaning in these same life forces. This theme, a communion between nature and self, is central to all of Arica’s work.”
Hilton states, "We grew up learning that our world, as we know it, is called a “UniVerse.” Uni, defined as “one; having or consisting of one,” and VERSE, defined as "a group of lines that form a unit in a poem or song; a stanza” or "each of the short numbered divisions of a chapter in the Bible or other scripture.”
Scientists before us may have been poet/philosophers who regarded their work in discovering the worlds beyond our imagination in not only a theoretical way, but with a sense of artistic spirit. From their foresight, we should imagine our singular world to be a romantic amalgamation of poetry and song, a revelation of gospel that defines our very existence.
As science graduated from the superstition of ancient and medieval seekers of existence, it expanded to the study of our natural world and eventually became a springboard to the study of stars and beyond. The ancients believed the inherent connection between the macrocosmos, which they considered the same as the microcosmos. In the 3rd Century AD, Plotinus wrote "This universe is a single living being embracing all living beings within it, and possessing a single Soul that permeates all its parts to the degree of their participation in it.” The mythical Hermes Trismegistus is attributed to the saying, "that which is above is like that which is below.”
Yet, of all of the speculation and artistry of thought, we find ourselves by force of gravity, on our planet earth. Some scientists posit that the theory of an expanding universe into many is the result of growth, similar to that of a giant growing brain – natural growth dynamics, so to speak, within our Mind and our World.
But what really is a Multiverse? Is it a possibility of numerous universes that astrophysicists would call “infinite, parallel or alternate universes” that exist in the world as we know it? Is it a layering of space, time, matter, energy, etc. discovered by men and the constants that always be? Or is it simply an infinite realm of being or potential being of which our familiar universe is regarded as a part?
I ask myself, how does a Multiverse equate with the spirit of our times? Are we to believe that ours is the only one in existence? How does it affect our state of being in the world that is tangible, visible and tactile? Are the worlds in our psyche more habitable than the ones scientists tell us exist millions and zillions of miles away? When we compartmentalize, is that any different than putting the various alleged universes in drawers and pulling them out when they are of use to us?
In the Zeitgeist of our modern day, with the connections and disconnections of people through cultures, religions, wars and philosophical beliefs, I believe we live in a vast multiverse of confusion, a veritable tower of Babel terrorizing our very raison d’être.
If our Uni-Verse can be one passage in an anthem for a soloist or a small group of voices, then perhaps the Multi-Verse is a series of numerous passages in anthems of larger groups of voices we hear screaming throughout the world, knocking on the locked doors of serenity and safety. Those who scream live in surreal universes of anguish, disbelief and devastation as we watch from our tower of tranquility through other multiverses of technology, from television to social media, we assimilate alternate facts that misappropriate our minds, openly showing us how fortunate we are that our forbears made their voyage before this trying time.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
A background in architecture and design (she has designed homes for many of Chicago’s elite in high-end developments such as the Elysian (now the Waldorf Astoria), and in the Gold Coast such as the home of Chicago Blackhawks superstar, Marian Hossa) eventually led her to focus on her own art and poetry. Her paintings have been exhibited in galleries and art fairs including, Qu Art, Brussels, Art Chicago, Art Market Hamptons, Art Expo New York and the Beirut Art Fair.
Among her most recent collaborations, Hilton curated the poetry and wrote the finale poem for “DIVINA NATURA,” a sound and light installation based on Dante’s Inferno at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago with Italian artist Marco Nereo Rotelli; "WORDS" at Northwestern University. Her monumental painting, "UNIVERSE, Life Unlimited" was used as the backdrop for MYTHICAL PROPORTIONS, a one-woman play at Theater Wit in Chicago by actress, Nora Dunn. According to Ms. Dunn, "your painting became a character in my play." The painting was recently donated by one of Hilton’s collectors to Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago. The painting will hang in the lobby of the recently opened outpatient center.
Hilton, was born on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, moved to the United States with her family at the age of six and has been an integral member of Chicago’s art and literary community for over thirty years. She was formerly the president of the Poetry Center of Chicago and is a member of the International Women Associates (IWA) Chicago Council on Global Affairs and UN WOMEN.
Hilton is also the spokesperson for GREENHEART INTERNATIONAL, a global nonprofit that connects people and planet to create global leaders.
Her works have been published in numerous magazines and newspapers throughout the world. She is currently working on a series of paintings for a solo exhibition in Shanghai and Suzhou, China.