Gillian Hyland’s Words in Sight Exhibition

On Thursday 1st February at Studio 7, Gillian Hyland’s Words in Sight Exhibition opened. Gillian is a friend of Art on a Postcard since participating in our Photography Project in October. It was great to see that two of the pieces, Unforgiven and Havana VI, that Gillian had entered into Photography on a Postcard featured at the exhibition.

The room itself hosts the photographs excellently, navy blue walls, gold light fixtures and antique furniture are typical of one of her staged environments. Gillian creates supernatural staged images, presented as film stills or dramatic moments. Hyland’s unsettling mise-en-scene are full of sex and desire, sadness and nostalgia. Narratives that are psychologically evocative – at once sublimely theatrical yet poignant. Hyland describes herself as an image maker and story teller; her dramatic photographs are based on her own poems, and depict characters in human dramas and isolated emotional situations. Frozen in time, solitary and vulnerable moments are presented in glorious technicolor and timeless sets.

Overall, Gillian’s work is sumptuous in the way oil paintings can be. Smoke, antiques, velvet, silk and thick glimmering water, they are smooth and intense. Three photographs in particular stood out for me as extremely moving. In Look Away an older guy is getting into a car as a mother and daughter watch him walk away. In Unforgiven, a woman with a large glass of red wine faces out towards us as a man leans towards a window at the back. And finally in Too much too soon a pensive girl sits on the end of the bed with a man fast asleep beside her. These photographs are cinematic snapshots of grim relatable moments like an inhalation of life's darkest moments. They might be pivotal moments in her characters lives, and so thought about in hindsight as the hyperdrama that Gillian presents them in. Unglamorous moments presented as high glamour, has nostalgic connotations that moved me. Not only are Gillian’s works impressively cinematic and intricate in her attention to detail and so they captivate you.

The exhibition runs 1-8th February, so catch it over the next couple of days.


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