Bo Hilton’s practice deals with the conceptual and poetic possibilities of the medium of painting, in particular those that occur through the processes of making a work.
To weave connections between memory, space and time, Hilton will often begin a work with motifs of the absent or invisible figure, such as specific memories of playing chess with his late father or a coastal walk with a friend. Minimal gestures, nuanced combinations of colour, the introduction of fragments of other found or remembered images, are repeated strategies that allow his paintings to have their own autonomy and volition.
As well as this gambit, Hilton will sometimes begin the painting with an idea about colour, which for him is associated with the memory, for example using five reds and Black. Hilton’s approach relies on a process of applying, removing, then re-applying paint in diverse ways until the painting begins to say something as a whole. The painting proceeds according to what is needed with often dramatic simplifications and then further complicating until a resolution is reached. Often there is a tension between the forms at the edge of the painting and those in the central area of the painting.
As such the finished paintings often are only subtly imbued with the original motif and idea.
He believes the painting should work in terms of colour harmony and balance of forms and is interested in the retinal satisfaction in moving visually around the painting and this is key to the work. He is not interested in symbolism or narrative painting but in the way colour, shape and line can elicit a strong emotional response from the viewer, which is associated with the colour used but also the fact that the colour can act as a metaphor for the particular memory of the event.