December 2, 2004 – January 15, 2005
As the inaugural exhibition in 911 Media Arts Center’s brand new New Media Gallery, we were extremely honored to host the Seattle premiere of a new installation by renowned artist Gary Hill.
For over two decades, Gary Hill’s work in video and installation art has opened new possibilities for the use of developing media. Internationally exhibited, his influential work has been studied for its contributions to art as language and thinking as well as for its innovative uses of technology. In his work there is cross-pollination of mediums, creating an outcome that can only be approached as a unique vision of reality.
Language Willing (2002) consists of a double-image video projection and speakers. Australian poet Chris Mann provided the phonetic soundtrack for a pair of hands that spun two floral-patterned discs. The spoken phrases, alternately hectic and lethargic, ultimately never conveyed a clear, complete thought. Rather, the familiar sounds coupled with erratic intonations encouraged the viewer to find or infer meanings that are nonetheless elusive. George Quasha, author of the exhibition’s accompanying catalog, wrote that the title of this work, possibly a play on the phrase “God willing,” suggests that we are not the masters of language, that rather language is its own master who will or will not elucidate at will.
Gary Hill was born in Santa Monica, California, in 1951 and lived and worked for years in New York’s Hudson Valley before moving to Seattle. Originally a sculptor, Hill began working with sound and video in the early 1970s and has produced a large body of both single-channel video works and mixed media installations. His work has been exhibited at museums and institutions throughout the world, including solo exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum SoHo (New York), Museum of Modern Art (New York), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Watari Museum of Contemporary Art (Tokyo), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington D.C.), the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), among others. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Leone d’Oro Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale in 1995 and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant in 1998.
Language Willing was made possible thanks to Gary Hill Studio and Donald Young Gallery (Chicago). Technical support and exhibition equipment was been generously provided by Cello Technologies and AV Pro.