Fall art exhibit inspires students through artist transformation

Image courtesy of HuffPost


Image courtesy of HuffPost

By Kaylin Matzner

On Tuesday, Sept. 17, students and faculty of Moorpark College gathered to listen to Hilary Brace speak on her journey through the arts and the many directions her artistic career has taken her.

Brace is best known for her use of charcoal to create airy, black and white cloudscapes and landscapes. Brace says she uses charcoal, because of its fluidity and ability to possess fine detail but also the ease of making changes with it.

Brace uses her imagination to draw most of her inspiration, which she claims allows for a lot of freedom, but also a lot of room for error.

“I’m sure I was affected by a number of artists, I just can’t identify any direct influences on my work and I don’t think about other artists when making choices,” Brace said. “As time went on, I took my queues from my paintings themselves, responding to the things I liked and eliminating the things I didn’t.”

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Brace’s art hangs on display in the admissions building on campus. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Brace says she hopes her works are experiential to the viewer, and move them as much as they move her.

Brace emphasized that she knew from a young age that she wanted to be involved in art. Having spent a few of her younger years living in Munich with her family and frequenting museums, she understood the importance and value of art.

“I saw a lot of Renaissance painting and remember being very taken with the clouds,” stated Brace. “But, I imagine having mostly grown up in the Pacific Northwest was the biggest influence on my landscape imagery.”

From looking at Brace’s artwork, it is clear that clouds and the movement of light play an important role in the focus of her work. Brace says living in Bellingham, WA sparked this interest as she found a love for the clouds clearing and what the light coming through revealed.

Moorpark College is currently exhibiting a collection of Brace’s work in the administration building, where her technique of combining charcoal with other mediums and attention to detail can be experienced first-hand. The art featured ranges from 6 inch paper drawings, to 8 feet tapestries.

Santa Barbara artist, Hilary Brace is the featured artist in Moorpark College’s Gallery, located in the administration building for the Fall 2019 semester.

The exhibit has been installed by Erika Lizee, gallery director and visual arts department chair at Moorpark College. Each year Lizee sets up an installation during the fall semester and the following semester she teaches a gallery class where students can learn to become exhibiting artists themselves.

During Brace’s presentation she was able to share her techniques, and answer questions that aspiring artists were curious about. The questions ranged from her techniques, her mediums and her inspiration behind the pieces.

Lizee vocalized why she felt Brace was a great fit for the installation. Expressing that Brace displays both an exceptional technique and dynamic concepts as she creates art using charcoal as well as digital drawings.

Rylee Hooper, a second year art student at Moorpark College, says she found Hilary Brace’s presentation to be both beautiful and interesting.

“The fact that she showed some of her earlier work as an undergrad before progressing to her most recent pieces made it so inspirational,” Hooper said. “[It] reminded me that we are always changing and evolving as our thoughts grow.”

The art gallery will remain open from Sept. 5 through Oct. 4 for students, faculty and those who admire fine arts. The viewing hours of the gallery are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. until noon.

“When I was a student I found it rewarding to hear from visiting, working artists,” Brace said. “I wanted to encourage students to follow and develop their own unique voices and have confidence that doing so will bring them creative rewards.”