An artist’s experience of illness—or an art critic’s, for that matter—can be kept far from her work. That might seem most professional, but it disallows the kind of poignant and unexpected reflection that Megan Hildebrandt works out in her labor-intensive drawings. Confronting the possibility of death and the destructive impulses of one’s own cellular structure demands more than the figural representations offered by medical pamphlets. It needs the duration of time and the possibilities of abstract and conceptual processes. So Hildebrandt cut hundreds of contiguous parallelograms out of a large piece of paper inked like a dark sky: together they form the presence of absence, an organic structure that somehow holds together despite the odds. So last spring she painted a swath of the sunset every day, noting its splendor along with its precise date and time. The picture’s title, “Daily Disappearance,” sounds ominous but it isn’t really. The sun goes down each day, it’s true, and some might mourn that loss, but they’ve forgotten that it will rise again, and again. And there she is to see it.
—Lori Waxman 11/28/15 1:30 PM