The intricate masking tape and mixed media sculptures of Willard Hill (b. 1934) draw from a lifetime spent in the small town of Manchester, Tennessee. The Good Luck Gallery is delighted to present Hill’s latest work in his second solo exhibition opening September 8, 2018.
Over twenty years ago, when Hill returned home debilitated after a hospital stay, the idea came to him to start making sculptures out of all the everyday detritus he had at hand. Primarily composed of masking tape, Hill’s sculptures also utilized plastic bags, wire, toothpicks, rocks and a plethora of other found materials. Whatever a piece reminded him of as he worked, that’s what it became and soon every surface in his small home was covered in evocative gems.
Two figures fight to stay atop a massive catfish, a bright pink bird confidently guides a space-age buggy, and a totem sports faces clad with tinfoil earrings in Hill’s newest and most complex work to date. “It’s amazing to me” Hill says of his art, “but I give God all the credit.” A cook for over sixty years, Hill often pulls inspiration from his fishing excursions, observing the birds and other wildlife, then returning home to recreate and embellish upon them.
In the mere two years since Willard Hill received his first ever solo exhibition at the age of 82, his work has been exhibited by The Good Luck Gallery in Paris and New York, and his position within the African-American art diaspora was cemented with his inclusion in Reclamation! Pan-African Works from the Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection, The Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, VA. A solo exhibition at Todd Art Gallery, Middle Tennessee State University is scheduled to open September 22, 2018. Manchester is “just a little town,” notes Hill “nothing like this has ever happened around here. Now I’m somebody.”