Hilary Herrmann

Australian artist, Hilary Herrmann, has been painting about the “everyday” for over two decades.
She finds inspiration from the surroundings of her Bangalow rural property, amongst replanted rainforest, where five chooks claim dominion over the house. It is anything and everything that surrounds her; readings, dreams, domestic intimacies, fears, 3am insomniac musings.
All of this is sifted through, distilled, transmuted, until finally the artwork transcends the personal and offers strange, delicate, whimsical, often darkly intimate mythologies. They are ephemeral and ineffable; they are of sea and air with no clear point of separation.
Fabled creatures, animals and small beings glide by, steer boats float through space, set forth on seemingly solitary journeys, make contact, take leave or wait patiently, all in a misty “other” world. They speak of quietude, poignancy, innocence, and the hero’s journey.
They are images, musings and ideas that dissolve the minute you try to pin them down. They are unspoken truths that do not want to be said out loud, rendered in hypnotic swirls of colour and space. The work is fundamentally storytelling, of moments past, present and imaginary that mould together in their own pell-mell manner.
Hilary Herrmann’s paintings – in her own words
“I live on a rural property in the hinterland of Byron Bay, surrounded by beautiful countryside; the landscape is lush and evergreen, amongst undulating hills. There is a network of community and friends, which are a wonderful mixture of miscreants and misfits. They colour my world.
My daughter reminds me of a character out of a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel and I often feel the need to stop her from floating into the skies. There is a Brahman bull, Angus cattle, neurotic dogs, bad tempered ducks and a forgotten garden, a sad and lonely chook yard, one too many battles with the crafty foxes. All on the to do list.
My painting practice is storytelling; communicating what touches me, it explores relationships, domesticity and memory, it studies and exaggerates the creatures that surround me. I want belonging to be part of the communication, for the relationships of my life and imagination to be expanded outwards, to resonate out of the paint. For my characters, though touch or gesture, often through a flower offered as a gift, that the feeling of being alone is lessened.

It’s about wanting simplicity, it’s about hope, about protection. My incorporeal figures float through the world with their golden crowns and protective halos, caught in time, not able to move forward or move backwards, transfixed, spellbound to a place that is captive and protected. The complexity of the world is contained. My paintings represent a type of vulnerability and offer a quiet despatch that things will be okay.
I am drawn to the imagery of Francis of Assisi’s Sermon to the Birds, of a robed figure explaining faith to birds, to this vision of crazed fervour and devotion that has been projected across centuries, to the idea of instituting reformation through the details, of changing the world by looking to our smallest creatures.
I like the gilded pictures of medieval chickens. Stripped back, removed from its biblical context, the Sermon to the Birds is a tale of democracy, respect and love. It’s the simple observation that birds need the earth as much as we do.”


Otomys is driven by a passionate team of committed art consultants who strive to deliver an enjoyable and bespoke art service. If you would like to talk through your art interest with us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.