Blind simile

Born Leeds, England 1952, arrived Australia 1980


Stemming from her interest in Russian and English constructivism, the grid is central to Hilarie Mais’ minimalist sculpture and painting practice. As a form it represents an entry point, a journey and a barrier, and conveys a complex lexicon of psychological symbolism.

During the 1990s Mais began creating twin symmetrical works of which Blind simile is an example. Related in appearance, the two forms are physically different: one a three-dimensional structure, the other a two-dimensional painting. Engaged in a dialogue, they question presence, representation, imitation and illusion, and in a broader social sense refer to the human concept of ‘the other’.

Mais studied in London from 1970–77 before working in New York, and arrived in Australia in 1980. She has exhibited regularly, holding numerous solo exhibitions in Australia, Asia, the United States and Europe. Her work has also been included in the Second and Third Australian Sculpture Triennial, National Gallery of Victoria (1984 and 1987), Australian Perspecta (1985), the Biennale of Sydney (1986 and 1988), and Spirit and Place: Art in Australia 1861–1996, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (1996). She won the Blake Prize for religious art in 1994. Hilarie Mais: Survey of Works 1974–2004 was presented at the Drill Hall, Canberra in 2004.

Mais’ work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, and many state galleries, Wollongong Regional Gallery, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Monash University Museum of Art, University of New South Wales, Parliament House, Canberra and Slade School of Fine Art, London.