David Hilliard’s photographic work strikes a delicate balance between the autobiographical and fictional. He constructs portraits composed of individual images combined into two panel diptychs up to five panel panoramas. This unique style of portraiture guides the viewer through dream-like, almost cinematic, narratives that explore ideas of identity, desire, and personal relationships.
In Our Nature, Hilliard continues to explore familiar concepts while investigating the thread that ties all of his work together. The artist sets up arranged scenes photographing his subjects repeatedly until he is able to capture a poignant moment where the subject allows Hilliard to see their essence, a glimpse of them at their most honest and vulnerable. Hilliard masterfully uses the lush natural or domestic environments around his subjects to accentuate their emotional landscape, reaching the core of their individual personality and in so doing he allows the viewer to understand something about human nature and themselves. Using these elements in his work, Hilliard seeks out the universal human desire for comfort, solace, and personal connection.
Hilliard received an MFA from Yale University and has won a Fulbright scholarship and a Guggenheim fellowship. His work is in public collections such as the Art institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR), Los Angeles County Museum (Los Angeles, CA) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY). In 2014 Seattle-based Minor Matters Books published a monograph on Hilliard titled What Could Be.