Loie Hollowell

Starting from 0

May 13 – Jun 25, 2022
Exhibition Details:

Loie Hollowell
Starting from 0
May 13 – Jun 25, 2022


2/3F, 267 Itaewon-ro


Press Release


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Above: Loie Hollowell, Yellow Brain, 2021 © Loie Hollowell

Pace is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by Loie Hollowell at its Seoul gallery.

Marking the artist’s first solo presentation at Pace’s space in the Korean capital, the exhibition spotlights paintings and works on paper from Hollowell’s Brain series, her most compositionally minimal body of work to date.

Each of Hollowell’s Brain paintings features a large-scale oval that is representative of a head or, more specifically, the conceptual space of a brain. The artist has frequently employed the oval as an abstraction of a human head in many earlier works, including her series of geometric self-portraits. In her Brain series, Hollowell has expanded the singular shape to its fullest possible diameter on the canvas, as if the viewer zoomed in on one of her “standing figure” portraits until only the head remained.

The varicolored ovals represent different psychological states and, at the same time, cultivate a phenomenological viewing experience. The addition of a sculptural bar at the bottom of each work situates the paintings within the language of landscape. The bars—three-dimensional horizon lines that ground the ovals to a physical element—are rendered in thickly stippled paint and a relatively dull hue, starkly contrasting with the smooth, flat, and brightly colored brain surfaces.

The abstracted brains are painted with multiple layers of semi-transparent oil paint until the desired color saturation is achieved. Each layer is applied in a single, labor-intensive, full-day session. Hollowell forges a seamless gradient of color within the ovals through highly physical and technical inquiries, which require orbital arm and wrist movements. Bearing traces of this physical process, the resulting ovals reflect the artist’s precise height. In extending both her body and the composition to the widest circumference possible, the physical act of painting is integral to these new works.

The drawings in the exhibition complement the paintings. In these smaller-scale works, Hollowell can quickly explore a multitude of color combinations before committing a study to be rendered as a six-foot painting. Because the scale of the ovals in the soft pastel studies is more akin to the true size of a human head, Hollowell thinks of these drawings as portraits, with the horizon line acting as a shoulder in support of the head or brain.

While the works in the exhibition at Pace in Seoul are partially rooted in a theoretical expansion of the symbolic shapes utilized by the artist, they also originated from a more personal narrative. In 2021, Hollowell’s father suffered an unexpected and severe traumatic brain injury. Due to the emotional intensity around that event, she began to think about how she could create a formally minimal investigation of the brain while simultaneously engaging with the pure pleasure of color, so as to take her mind from the difficulty of the familial situation.


Featured Works

Loie Hollowell, Teal Brain, 2021, oil paint, acrylic medium and wood on linen over panel, 72" × 54" × 3-1/2" (182.9 cm × 137.2 cm × 8.9 cm)
Loie Hollowell, Scarlet Brain, 2022, oil paint, acrylic medium, and high-density foam on linen over Dibond and wood panel, 72" × 54" × 3-1/2" (182.9 cm × 137.2 cm × 8.9 cm)
Loie Hollowell, Mauve Brain, December 13, 2021, soft pastel on paper, paper, 26" × 20" (66 cm × 50.8 cm) framed, 28-5/8" × 22-5/8" (72.7 cm × 57.5 cm)
Loie Hollowell, Yellow Brain, June 10, 2021, soft pastel and graphite on paper, paper, 26" × 20" (66 cm × 50.8 cm) framed, 28-5/8" × 22-5/8" (72.7 cm × 57.5 cm)

Installation Views


About the Artist

Loie Hollowell is recognized for her paintings that evoke bodily landscapes, using geometric shapes to move a figure or its actions into abstraction. Her work explores themes of sexuality, often through allusions to the human form with an emphasis on women’s bodies.

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