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Hilary Herrmann


I began to sort out old photographs in a trunk,

scared that last year’s rain might have destroyed them

I sifted.

I stumbled upon memories, vague and half-forgotten

Faces emerged repeated, places too, known and disremembered

There’s no one left to ask, no one to tell me.

And hence began a visual conversation,

a filling in of the gaps and the cracks and

the shaky-in-between places.

Maybe a homage, maybe just a keepsake.


My painting practice is storytelling; communicating what touches me – moments past, present and imaginary that mould together in their own pell-mell manner. These works explore relationships, domesticity and memory, they study and exaggerate the ghostly figures in my trunk of fading photos. I want belonging to be part of the communication, for the relationships of my life and imagination to be expanded outwards, to resonate beyond 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.


This body of work also includes two collaborative works painted with James Guppy, whom I have been painting with for ten years. Our collaboration is about having fun and learning from each other and our two completely divergent painting practices.



 Hilary Herrmann, 2023

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