Reminiscent of artists such as Agnes Pelton, Georgia O’Keeffe and Judy Chicago as well as Light and Space artists such as Robert Irwin and James Turrell, Hollowell’s geometric ephemeral and meditative new works presented at Pace from 28 August to 20 September expand on previous depictions of sexual acts. For the first time, the pieces presented in Dominant / Recessive deal with thoughts surrounding conception.
“This new body of work considers the act of trying to conceive as well as conception itself. By layering the concerns of painting on top of hand sculpted bodily surfaces, these shapely forms exist in a space between the illusoriness of painting and dimensionality of sculpture. The more time I spend with these paintings, the more I realise how real, physical and complex this liminal space can become. To put the thoughts I have, about trying to conceive and becoming pregnant into my painting / sculpting language is an invitation to embrace the physicality and otherworldliness of that primal sexual act.” – Loie Hollowell said.
Originating in subjective experiences, Hollowell’s vibrant works abstract the most intimate and sexually explicit elements of the human anatomy into shapes that reappear frequently throughout art history. For example, Hollowell uses the almond-shaped mandorla, found in medieval religious painting, as an abstract representation of the vagina. She also uses the lingam, a symbol of divine generative energy worshiped as a symbol of Shiva, as an abstracted representation of the penis.
Before embarking on each of her paintings, Hollowell carefully works with soft pastel on paper to test out various combinations of colour, shading, and forms. She builds upon flat linen-covered panels by applying shapes carved from high-density foam that are then sealed with a mixture of sawdust and acrylic medium. Once these sculpted linen panels have reached a perfectly smooth, undulating surface, Hollowell begins to apply oil paint. Through her experimentation with colour and chiaroscuro, Hollowell creates images that play with ideas of foreground and background, figure and ground, instilling poetry and an ethereal sense of light and volume.
Next February, Hollowell’s work will be included in Aftereffect: O’Keeffe and Contemporary Painting at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver – co-curated by Elissa Auther, Windgate Research Curator, Museum of Arts and Design, New York, and Los Angeles-based painter, Emily Joyce. The artist will also be the subject of a solo-exhibition at Pace, 537 West 24th Street from 3 May to 22 June 2019.