rEN Dillard

Ren Dillard is a multidisciplinary creative who uses oil paint, precious metal, spoken word, and collage to convey rich, often complex philosophical ideas through his work. An affirmed contemporary black artisan, Dillard critically examines the western canon, the works of old masters, the traditional notions of authorship and mastery. Questioning the systematic erasure of black bodies and black identity in his work, he translates glimpses of the mundane and transient moments of life with profound empathy and insight. Dillard depicts dense, textured scenes inspired from his personal life, but he is also intensely interested in creating a new narrative about the future. The famous western philosopher Joseph Campbell once said “Myth must be kept alive. The people who can keep it alive are the artists of one kind or another.” Ren pulls these mythological levers masterfully with vibrant colors and interesting, layered compositions that deal with ideas about the future through a black cultural lens. Crediting a life of challenging experiences as setting him on the path to realizing his potential, Ren Dillard has emerged as one of the most revered visual artists to come out of Savannah Georgia. “Throughout history, civilizations have prized the use of precious metals for their beauty and sanctity. The leafing process suffuses the intrinsic value of the treasured subjects with the implied spirituality of the precious metal. The perception of luminosity varies as the viewer’s position and ambient light change. Layering color, texture, and gold leaf, my process creates ephemeral illusions that seemingly dance on the work’s surface amidst reflections of light on the metals, creating a synthesis of technique and subject” stated Dillard. The artist’s new ideas and innovative approaches to traditional mediums like collage and oil paint lead to mind-bending creations. Using a centuries old gold leaf gilding technique, Dillard’s captivating imagery washes over and wraps around the viewer. His work has graced countless exhibitions and galleries across the country. “Behind all of life’s phenomenal manifestations is the one radiance, which shines through all things. The function of art is to reveal this radiance.” Says the artist. With bright and vibrant colors, Ren creates interesting compositions that deal with themes of memory, belonging, and anticipation of a better future.

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