Arica Hilton: Paintings Of Earth & Its Universal Counterparts / by Taylor Wade



Arica Hilton: Painter, Poet, and River North Gallerist

Originally posted on Hilton | Asmus Contemporary 

With more than 25 years experience representing an international array of artists, Hilton | Asmus Contemporary is the partnership between veteran gallerist, artist and poet, Arica Hilton and German-born Sven Asmus.

Located in Chicago's River North Art District, the gallery specializes in modern and contemporary paintings, works on paper, fiber art, glass, sculpture and photography featuring Chicago-based emerging and established artists, as well as internationally known artists from Northern Europe and the Mediterranean Region such as Turkey, Greece, Italy, and the Middle East.  

Arica Hilton was born on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. As a young girl, she studied architecture and design and has worked as an art dealer, interior designer, poet and artist since 1985. Whether it is visual art through paintings or the poetic expressions of language and music, every aspect of Arica’s life is geared towards one form of art melding into another. 

As an artist my interest lies in the expression of the inexhaustible combinations of a visually aesthetic and spiritual language that transcends worlds. Specifically, I explore free organic forms through the layering and sensual deployment of color by evoking the rich spectral underpinnings of the simplicity and richness of the earth and its universal counterparts. There is no set agenda for these ideas, as they are born of the immediate response of each brushstroke to another, catching the pure moment of expressionistic mixtures in harmony. The subjects evolve, transforming continuously in their meaning and complexity as the raw emotional presence that such techniques may evoke in the merging of hand, paint, eye and words. Thus, like the tonal qualities in music, my poetry and paintings attempt to touch something universally significant in all human beings, that meditative state reflecting the elements of nature and the universe.
— Arica Hilton

Much like the Luminists, the poetic art movement that captured light as it moved across the American Landscape, Hilton’s works are inspired by the European Romanticists, who depicted cools waterscapes reflecting nuanced skies. She uses that as a springboard, not necessarily concerning herself with traditional landscape. While her work continues to share a feeling of tranquility, calm, and the sense of light piercing a soft, hazy “sky,” she takes on a “Post Luminist” feeling as she refers to a more ubiquitous aspect of nature, reaching beyond the tangible earth, water, sky, to the star forming galaxies of the universe. Hilton’s paintings and installations are intricately woven with her poetry and three-dimensional materials, which transports them to the present while still capturing a timeless quality that is ever present in her works.        

"The Secret Sky" • oil on canvas • 5 piece suite, each piece is 48 x 12 inches (122 x 30.5 cm)

Hilton lives and works in Chicago. Until recently, she was the president of the board of the Poetry Center of Chicago and was voted one of the LIT 50: Who Really Books in Chicago 2011 by New City.  Her works have been featured in Fine Art Magazine, Michigan Avenue Magazine, Chicago Social, Chicago Magazine, Crain’s Chicago Business, Huffington Post, Astronomy Magazine, Art World News, The Examiner, DNA INFO, Windy City Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times. 

Among her most recent collaborations, Hilton curated the poetry aspect of "DIVINA NATURA," a sound and light installation at the Field Museum with Italian artist Marco Nereo Rotelli and “WORDS” at Northwestern University.  


Her painting, "UNIVERSE, Life Unlimited" was the backdrop for MYTHICAL PROPORTIONS, a one-woman play at Theater Wit in Chicago by actress, Nora Dunn.  According to Ms. Dunn, "Your painting became a character in my play."  Her works are in major collections throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.  

UNIVERSE I, Life Unlimited, oil on canvas, 6 x 10 feet, diptych (183 x 305 cm)

Hilton was invited to participate in a solo exhibition of her paintings and poetry at EUROPALIA, a biennale held in Brussels in the fall of 2015. Her book, "LUMINISIM REVISITED" was released May 2015.