In all the chatter about a “new formalism” going on, folks who should know better tend to overlook that any so-called new formalism is still formalism—a crucial aspect summoned too often just as formula or a way of putting thought on crutches when confronting abstraction and nonrepresentation, instead of allowing it to stumble into the unknown. Artists create and de-create new forms, which mostly aren’t categorizable until they’ve already moved elsewhere. Like any other artist who actually wishes to accomplish something meaningful, Hill’s trying to sort through many things at once. I doubt he’d start with his “interest” in form, point blank, as what gets him out of bed, but neither would he prioritize grooving to the sometimes contradictory currents of Sturtevant, Billy Al Bengston (color as space, vernacular as history), and Fecteau (poetic rigor) over possibly testing the aesthetic potential of Spencer’s Gifts (the “adult” novelty shop specializing in the black-lit paraphernalia of stoner eroticism), fabric and glass arts, or the low-key cool of surf culture (coral, pastel beach stones, killer airbrushing) and its mum, soulful atmospherics.
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