Portraiture has the ability to communicate with viewers on a deep, human level that continually draws artists — and collectors — to the genre. During his latest solo exhibition, painter Luke Hillestad captures the essence of his sitters from a breadth of generations.
Open now at the delightful Douglas Flanders & Associates in Minneapolis, Minnesota, “AEON: Portraits of Youth and Age” features the latest mastery to emerge from the studio of Luke Hillestad. A former apprentice of the world-renowned Odd Nerdrum, Hillestad’s work showcases one of the ways contemporary artists are bringing traditional techniques and palettes back to their historical grandeur. The artist works in the historical Apelles palette (white, black, yellow, and red), and Hillestad’s paintings display a remarkable degree of harmony and balance, each piece seeming to have an interior glow and timeless appeal.

Luke Hillestad, “Don,” oil on linen, 22 x 20 in. (c) Luke Hillestad 2016

“My favorite people embody youthful energy and elder-like virtue,” writes Hillestad. “Too often our childish curiosities are curtailed and ancient wisdoms ignored. No doubt, the advertisement industry’s amplification of the 18-24 year-old market has rushed children into pre-mature adulthood and distracted from a healthy respect for old age. In this exhibition, AEON, I focused on these ages that bookend the human archetype. For me, painting is an extended meditation about themes I want to work through and people I admire. Here I invite you to take your time and consider the values you want to embody; those which have been with you since your youth and those you desire to embrace as you age.”

Luke Hillestad, “Maiden, Mother, and Crone (triptych),” oil on linen, (c) Luke Hillestad 2016

The exhibition also displays several self-portraits of the artist, both autonomously and in the guise of a “Drunken Noah.” Whether the sitter was the artist himself or a member of his family, each work is treated with delicacy and acute observation. Adding to the power of the images is the overwhelming sense that Hillestad has touched on more than physiognomic signifiers. In short, the works have presence, character, emotion, narrative, mystery, and so much more. As Hillestad — and many others like him — forge ahead, “AEON” shines bright as an indicator of the splendor to come from representational art world.

Luke Hillestad, “Colton,” oil on linen, 20 x 18 in. (c) Luke Hillestad 2016

To learn more, visit Douglas Flanders & Associates  
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here

Previous articleFeatured Lot: George Morland, “The Gipsies’ Tent”
Next articleContemplating Character
Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here