the Images of Tucker Hill
the first impact of Tucker Hill's prints is the essence of light - shining
through trees, striking buildings, light that is luminous and glows against
darker objects, making them shimmer with an almost unearthly contrast.
get this impact he chooses to work mostly in black or dark brown (umber)
oil that does not distract from the contrast of light and shadow. This
is a choice some photographers make, electing black-and-white film over
color to dramatize the impact of light alone.
Route 643, Madison County,
April 20, 7:45 a.m., 2001
photography plays a part in Hill's work (see below section "How Hill Makes
images"), not so much as a model for what he sees, but as a shorthand way
to record a scene, so he can later start the imagining of the scene in
his own way.
Route 643, Madison
County, June 2, 2001, 7:41 a.m.
[Collection of William Fry]
monotypes are based on real and homely views of roads and scenes around
Madison County where he lives. Unlike some artists who choose subjects
such as still life or figures of people that could occur anywhere, or imagined
abstractions that exist nowhere, Hill's subjects are taken from a specific
time and place: A road near a country store in autumn, a spring day looking
at a lane with a tree in bloom in early morning, the backlight on the tree.
Even the time of day is significant, and is often included in the title
of the picture.
stop-time impact is a powerful part of his images and, some say, of any
work of art.
"Art is the part
of the culture that depends most entirely on time, on knowing exactly when.
The emotions it summons belong to the room they were made in, and the city
outside the room when they were made. Not a timeless experience of a general
emotion but a permanent experience of a particular moment - that is what
we want from jazz records and Italian landscapes alike."
(Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, August 13, 2001, p. 33)
Route 643, Madison
County, January 31, 4:35 p.m., 2001
Madison County, August 25, 3:20 pm., 1998
[Collection of Bob and Kathy
images of local scenes are both accurate and enhanced. They may include
country buildings (which Hill, as an architectural historian, is expert
at rendering), and rural roads, glowing trees, cascades of clouds.
painstaking careful balances, Hill translates his affection and reverence
for a scene, where light radiates through and around, into a subtly heightened
re-creation of the place, the moment and the light. It has the directness
of a portrait while capturing, as a human portrait can, the character of
the place and the impact that light and shadow can have on a subject.