Archaeological, mythological, and historical evidence all reveal that the female religion, far from naturally fading away, was the victim of centuries of continual persecution and suppression by the advocates of the newer religions which held male deities as supreme. And from these new religions came the creation myth of Adam and Eve and the tale of the loss of Paradise.
(Merlin Stone, When God was a woman, 1978)
Dinner Gallery is proud to present Probably A Goddess, an exhibition of new paintings by Hilary Doyle. This is her first solo exhibition with the gallery and will be on view from May 17th through June 30th with an opening reception on Thursday, May 25th from 6-8pm.
Doyle’s practice explores a utopian world that values nature, gender equality and motherhood, which she calls the OtHerworld, envisioning idyllic landscapes populated by communities based on matriarchal societies of the past and present.
Inspired by the 1978 novel by Merlin Stone entitled “When God Was a Woman”, Doyle aims to create an alternate world where 30,000 years of Goddess-centered religions have flourished. Here, victimized ancient Goddess archetypes such as Eve, Medusa and Venus, are vindicated from their contrived histories and have reclaimed the myths that stole their power, namely forbidden fruits and malicious snakes. Concealed within each painting, are whispers of ancient archetypes. A trace of Medusa’s untamed mane or the subtle outline of the Venus of Willendorf’s body are ephemeral and fleeting - appearing and disappearing before the viewer can catch a second glance. Through these moments, Doyle excavates the hidden and lost symbols of female power embedded in myths of the past as a means to find new interpretations.
Doyle’s practice is acutely informed by her everyday observations, world and life, particularly her own experiences with motherhood. Her characters endure struggles despite their serene and picturesque surroundings. In the painting entitled Venus and Cupid, Doyle reimagines the ancient deities as a tired mother sitting on a tree, giving up on reading her book, while she watches over a child playing nearby. By rewriting the script for Venus’ historically sexualized reputation, the viewer celebrates her as a researcher and mother and questions the implications of how misogyny has shaped our world today.
Doyle’s works are allegorical and suggestive, hinting at a world that could have been or potentially could be. Her landscapes are wild and unmanicured giving a sense of feminine potential when unlocked and uninhibited while also a sense of comfort and familiarity that serve as reminders of a connection to nature and female power that are within our reach.
Hilary Doyle (b. 1985) is an artist, teacher, and curator from Worcester, MA. Her work includes painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture. Doyle recently exhibited at venues such as Taymour Grahne, Hesse Flatow, Public Swim, and Monya Rowe Gallery, and Gallery Func in Shanghai, China. Recent solo shows include Probably a Goddess opening May 2023 at Dinner Gallery in NYC and On The Way to the Garden at Taymour Grahne in London in 2022.
Doyle has upcoming group shows with Contemporary Art Matters in Ohio and Gallery LJ in Paris. She has received press coverage in Hyperallergic, Bushwick Daily, and New American Paintings Blog. Doyle teaches at Holy Cross College and taught for years at Rhode Island School of Design, Brown University and Purchase College. She co-founded and teaches for the NYC Crit Club. She was recently gallery co-director at Transmitter Gallery and curates shows independently. Doyle received an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Currently, she lives and works in Worcester, MA.