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The creation of this work stems from a combination of artist Seth Ruggles Hiler's reflection on his experiences with animals and the verse of Jeremiah 13:20 while exploring the theme "Sheep."

Jeremiah 13:20

From the North


Seth Ruggles Hiler


Curated by: 

Spark+Echo Arts


30 x 40 inches

Oil on Canvas

Image by Giorgio Trovato

Primary Scripture

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The inspiration for this painting comes from Seth's surroundings. As a child, he grew up on a New Jersey farm surrounded by animals. His spiritual background in Anglicanism and Methodism and his passionate involvement with the LGBT community harmonizes with my creative drive for expression and his academic training. Seth's work has a classical sensibility with contemporary color and composition. He strives to go beyond creating likeness or surface description by expressing a momentary relationship to the subject, informed by a collection of past experiences.

The landscape in this image was taken from a snapshot of the Appalachian trail above the frost line, reminding Seth of Jeremiah’s note about the flock coming down “from the north.” Also remembering his visit to a sheep field in Martha’s Vineyard, Seth notes that animals have always held a tender spot in his heart.

Seth's landscapes, portraits and collaborations often simultaneously explore ideas about the exceptional and the mundane, creating a natural space for him to explore the ironic relationship between (biblical) sheep and their Shepherd. When viewed through human lenses, Seth see an anomaly in the relationship of the Shepherd and his sheep: that such a vulnerable animal would have implicit trust in its leader, following unquestionably. Thus, the surrounding verses in Jeremiah’s passage hint that there may be some trouble for this flock.

Spark Notes

The Artist's Reflection

Seth Ruggles Hiler received a BFA in painting from Syracuse University in 2002 and an  MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2005.  He maintains a studio in Boonton, NJ and is a professor at Bard High School Early College in Newark, New Jersey. Seth’s work has been exhibited at galleries and institutions throughout the North East and in Ontario, Canada, including the Morris Museum in New Jersey, New York City’s Salmagundi Club and Syracuse University.  In 2010, the Monmouth Museum of Art featured his work in the solo exhibition “NJ Emerging Artists Series: Seth Ruggles Hiler – Portraits.”  Read more about his process on his 2010 Plein Air excursion through New England, and a sweet note about “the Sabbath.” The premiere of “Ash Unravel,” a dance and drawing collaboration with dancer/choreographer Michael Caldwell, was presented in Toronto in 2011 at the Dance Made in Canada Festival.  Guerilla Gallery in Newark, NJ presented “CROPPED, An Intimate View,” a solo show of large graphite portraits in September 2011.

See more of Seth’s work at

Seth Ruggles Hiler

About the Artist

Seth Ruggles Hiler

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