Loie Hollowell (b. 1983, Woodland, California) earned a BFA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Originating in autobiography, her paintings explore themes of sexuality, often through abstractions of the human body and an emphasis on female forms. With strong colors, varied texture, and the symmetry of sacred geometry, her works evoke bodily landscapes and allude to iconography such as the almond-shaped mandorlas found in medieval religious painting. Hollowell was the recipient of a 2011 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship Award. She lives and works in New York.
London—Pace is delighted to present the gallery’s first solo exhibition in the UK by the New York-based artist Loie Hollowell. The exhibition will feature twelve new paintings and twenty-two works on paper which explore themes of sexuality, conception, and being a woman in today’s world, through abstractions of the human body and evocations of sacred iconography. The exhibition will be on view at 6 Burlington Gardens from 28 August to 20 September 2018. A catalogue will accompany the exhibition and include an essay by independent Los Angeles-based curator Diana Nawi who will be organising the next Prospect.5, the New Orleans triennial, in 2020.
Reminiscent of luminary painters like 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 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, 2018.
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.
“Following the remarkable presentation of her drawings at Frieze last year, we’re really excited to show Loie’s work at 6 Burlington Gardens. The exhibition will be Loie’s first solo-presentation in London and we’re delighted to introduce her to European audiences. Loie’s curved work show an incredible vibrancy that appeals to a whole new group of collectors and curators.” Said Elliot McDonald, Pace Gallery, Senior Director.
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.