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New York

Loie Hollowell

Plumb Line

On View
Sep 14–Oct 19, 2019

Abstracting the human figure, Hollowell’s work explores the dualities of light, volume and scale, blurring the lines between the illusory and the real.

Exhibition Details

Loie Hollowell
Plumb Line
Sep 14 – Oct 19, 2019

Gallery

540 West 25th Street
Second Floor
New York

Above: Loie Hollowell, Postpartum Plumb Line, 2019, oil paint, acrylic medium, sawdust, and high density foam on linen mounted on panel, 72" × 54" × 3-1/2" (182.9 cm × 137.2 cm × 8.9 cm) © Loie Hollowell
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Loie Hollowell, Boob Wheel, 2019, oil paint, acrylic medium, sawdust and high density foam on linen mounted on panel, 72-1/4" × 54-1/8" × 3-1/2" (183.5 cm × 137.5 cm × 8.9 cm) © Loie Hollowell

The limits of our organic state
are very narrow. Just enough air
and water and nourishment, or else.
This morning, fresh Sicilian bread with
butter, coffee, oxygen for two
even though no one’s counting. Measure
the minutes between each minor change.
Meanwhile, concentric rings of routine
enclose each daily habit tightly.
The furthest ring is the nation-state,
although some say certainly the Earth.
The closest ring surrounds the body.
Within that ring, there’s someone. Someone
without an address, number, or name.

Iris Cushing

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Loie Hollowell, Standing in Light, 2018, oil paint, acrylic medium, sawdust and high density foam on linen mounted on panel, 72" × 54" × 3-1/2" (182.9 cm × 137.2 cm × 8.9 cm) © Loie Hollowell

We will inaugurate our global headquarters with a solo exhibition of new paintings by Loie Hollowell. Marking Hollowell’s debut exhibition with Pace in New York, Plumb Line will feature nine large-scale paintings that expand upon the artist’s dynamic use of dimensionality, color and geometric shapes. Abstracting the human figure, Hollowell’s work explores the dualities of light, volume and scale, blurring the lines between the illusory and the real. In particular, this new body of work explores Hollowell’s relationship to different stages of her pregnancy from conception, to birth, to motherhood. Nonetheless, subject matter in Hollowell’s work often emerges through phenomenological encounter rather than narrative content, tapping the depth of the artist’s embodied experience.

Beauty for me is not just visual, it is also experiential. I want the viewer to come away not necessarily knowing what I was trying to tell them about, say, my birth experience, but absorbing an impression of brightness or richness or radiance that has something to do with their relationship to their own body.

Loie Hollowell

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Loie Hollowell, Birthing Dance, 2018, oil paint, acrylic medium, sawdust and high density foam on linen mounted on panel, 72" × 54" × 3-1/2" (182.9 cm × 137.2 cm × 8.9 cm) © Loie Hollowell

Central to Hollowell’s practice is her inquisitive approach to the human form and her ability to compose otherworldly landscapes that challenge the perception of space. Interested in Transcendental and Tantric painting, Hollowell creates work that is meditative in both process and form. Akin to artists like Hilma af Klint, Agnes Pelton and Tantric painter Gulam Rasool Santosh, whose works embrace the conventions of modernist painting and abstraction to visualize transcendental experience, Hollowell’s paintings also implore a spiritual energy. Through the use of symmetry, color and abstract iconography, Hollowell maps a cartography of psychic space, depicting the essence of the female form unapologetically, sensually and openly.

This is similarly echoed in Hollowell’s formal exploration of illusory space, exemplified by her utilization of three-dimensional surfaces, muted backgrounds and the contrasting radiant colors of her central forms. Citing the Cubists and Italian Futurists as influences who pushed the limits of figurative representation and kinetic movement in painting, Hollowell expands the physical presence of her work by interrupting the two-dimensional flatness of the painted surface with high-density, geometric forms adhered to the canvas so that each painting protrudes from the wall as sculpture. From a distance, each painting appears flat and tightly rendered, but as the viewer moves closer, three-dimensional shapes, textures and a lacework of brushstrokes emerge.

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Loie Hollowell, Birthing Dance (detail), 2018, oil paint, acrylic medium, sawdust and high density foam on linen mounted on panel, 72" × 54" × 3-1/2" (182.9 cm × 137.2 cm × 8.9 cm) © Loie Hollowell

The exhibition title, Plumb Line, refers to the central compositional line in each painting, as well as the gravitational pull experienced during pregnancy. Although this series builds upon Hollowell’s ongoing study of female forms, this is the first time the full scale of the body is divided and framed within the canvas, meeting the painting’s edge vertically, horizontally, or both. Measuring 6 by 4 ½ feet—the height of Hollowell’s fully erect figure—this suite of paintings is the largest and most sculptural to date. Engaged with the physical and psychic rearrangement of the body during pregnancy and post-partum, each painting is divided into five elements: head, breasts, pregnant belly, vagina and butt. Reconfigured in modular forms along vertical and horizontal lines, these corporeal shapes reflect vibrant hues of blue, red, purple and yellow, each alluding to emotional states of pain, peace, exhaustion and joy.

Plumb Line is Loie Hollowell’s fourth solo exhibition with Pace, following monographic shows with the gallery in London, Hong Kong and Palo Alto. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog designed by Michael Aberman and featuring poems, an essay and an interview by Iris Cushing, Emma Enderby and Elissa Auther, respectively, to be launched at the close of the exhibition. This catalogue is designed to be a partner publication to the artist’s first monograph, which featured a newly commissioned text by Diana Nawi.

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Loie Hollowell

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

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New York — Loie Hollowell, Plumb Line, Sep 14–Oct 19, 2019