Urban Landscape by Hilary Gent

Curator’s Statement

One of my favorite contemporary painters, Jenny Saville, obviously is inspired by a representational painter whose work was done from the 1940’s through the 1980’s.  Though this strong influence is from a painter of the past, Saville’s work is as edgy, contemporary and cutting edge as you can get.

Looking at the paintings of Hilary Gent, my first thought was “Hopper”, who painted during the 1920’s through the 1950’s.  In fact, I had fun calling her paintings “Hopperesque”!

By no means would I call Hopper contemporary, yet Hilary paints with an edge that clearly cuts through her old school technical ability bringing her canvas to today’s current date of 2014.

She paints what we see every day: weeds, overgrowth of urban plants, random buildings and structures all entangled as vines in a forest.  This is our neonature, not a hike in the virgin remote wilderness, but nature that is real and part of our daily vista.  Our architecture, with plant life decayed or not, becomes part of nature by definition, for it is a natural phenomenon of our landscape.

Even though Hilary may not paint a waterfall of Costa Rica, her canvases are stunning with beautiful compositions, color choices, contrasts and subtleness.  A great painter makes beautiful of the ugly, rather than copying the beautiful.  Surely this statement alone shows Hilary Gent to be a great painter!


Artist Statement

The body of work I am currently immersed in represents the industrial and organic landscape becoming one entity.  The architecture of industrial areas has been a common subject matter, but recently I have realized the beauty of the natural landscape taking back its claim on decrepit buildings, lots, and old billboards.  Through observation and analysis, I have begun to recognize nature and abandoned man-made structures as equal environments, both struggling for existence.

This series of paintings focuses on industrial settings, specifically how they appear at night.  The incentive to paint these areas emerges from my interest in the play of light and color on mundane architecture and scenery. I am interested in exploring how these nocturnal scenes are stripped of their detail, emphasizing the initial shapes and inspiring a new color palette.

These are not nocturnal scenes of moonlit nature, but man-made objects and structures illuminated by artificial light.  The glow of sodium vapor lights on empty semi trucks, eroding patches of paint on brick buildings and overgrown vines reclaiming a broken fence; these scenes hum with their own kind of vibrancy.  I intend to channel the energy generated from gritty and mundane into these new works.

Vivid color represents the energy still existing in the places that I paint. I use a combination of direct mark making and impressionistic brush strokes to highlight the contrasting elements that exist in one landscape. The initial impact of these places leaves a solidified memory, which I attempt to interpret and preserve through the painting process in case one day they are transformed or completely disappear.

Hilary Gent is the owner and curator of

Hedge Gallery at 78th Street Studios

1300 West 78th Street, Ste. 200

Cleveland, OH 44102





Labor and Capital

oil on canvas

36″ x 36″



Jack’s Territory

oil on canvas

28″ x 38″



Eye Candy

oil on canvas

24″ x 30″




oil on panel

24″ x 24″



Night Tide

oil on panel

24″ x 24″




oil on linen

18″ x 18″



Transformers at Twilight

oil on panel

24″ x 48″




oil on canvas

26″ x 38″




oil on canvas

20″ x 21″



Structure vs. Nature

oil on linen

14″ x 14″