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← Loie Hollowell's: Transcendent Bodies | Art21 "New York Close Up"

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Showing Revision 1 created 04/14/2021 by Jonathan Munar.

  1. A lot of times in my paintings
  2. you might see a shape that looks like a vagina,
  3. but upon closer inspection, it might also be
  4. a penis with balls.
  5. You know, I don't know how much of 
    this you're going to want to put in.
  6. My work is an expression of my core sensuality.
  7. I'm a body experiencing desire,
  8. experiencing pleasure.
  9. It is sensual and needy
  10. and dirty and expressive.
  11. I'm a body that is pregnant,
  12. but isn't necessarily
  13. the woman or the pregnant body 
    that society may put onto me.
  14. I'm experiencing pleasure and 
    pain that anyone can experience,
  15. and that's what I'm putting into the work.
  16. ["Loie Hollowell's Transcendent Bodies"]
  17. It's nine months later.
  18. I've had my baby at home, Juniper.
  19. She's now six months old.
  20. I gave birth in the pandemic.
  21. And I'm back in the studio.
  22. And some things have changed in the world.
  23. I think around the age of seven or eight
  24. my dad gave me my own studio.
  25. It was a closet.
  26. He set me all up in there with a little easel
  27. and a fresh canvas.
  28. I can remember the space so clearly.
  29. To have my own room next to my dad's
  30. and next to my mom's was pretty transformative.
  31. I've always centered myself 
    back into painting and drawing
  32. because of him giving me that space so early on.
  33. Color and light are central 
    characters in my painting practice.
  34. When I look at my work over the years,
  35. there's just this real 
    strong sense of chiaroscuro--
  36. light to dark forming space.
  37. I grew up in California surrounded 
    by Light and Space artists.
  38. Robert Irwin and his beautiful discs,
  39. with this line in between.
  40. Experiencing pure light,
  41. pure space,
  42. pure emotion.
  43. There's always that hunting,
  44. that searching for a light-filled experience,
  45. even if it's a dark subject matter,
  46. or an undescribable subject matter.
  47. Around my late twenties, I got pregnant
  48. and I did not want to keep the baby.
  49. I had an abortion.
  50. Planned Parenthood was amazing and wonderful.
  51. The emotional experience
  52. and the fallout of the relationship 
    was pretty emotionally intense.
  53. I wanted to figure out how 
    to make paintings about it.
  54. I started making, basically, 
    portraits of my vagina and ovaries,
  55. trying to depict the experience 
    of having the abortion.
  56. I realized the abstraction can hold within it
  57. that sensation or that emotion
  58. by its color, its composition,
  59. its texture.
  60. When I started diving deep into
  61. creating three-dimensional spaces on my paintings,
  62. I was now having to deal with
  63. illusory space and real space--
  64. constructed shadow and constructed light
  65. versus real light and real shadow.
  66. --Issues we've had with this milling 
    before is they haven't had enough layers on
  67. --and you've seen the mill lines come through.
  68. --So recently, Alicia has 
    been putting more layers on.
  69. --That's what I'm feeling right now,
  70. --when you close your eyes 
    and you feel that consistent,
  71. --smooth texture.
  72. --That's it!
  73. --Yup, this one is good!
  74. What I've found that I love 
    about having a painting
  75. that in reality is a sculpture
  76. is that it changes within each context,
  77. within each space that it's hung.
  78. A transition really happened for me when
  79. the governor put the stay-at-home order in place.
  80. I was about to give birth also,
  81. so I brought a bunch of 
    pastels and pastel paper home
  82. and just started drawing at home.
  83. I was trying to visualize my second birth,
  84. of my daughter,
  85. and move into that space somehow
  86. to start accepting the pain.
  87. Like, the insane place that your brain goes.
  88. So I was making drawings of my brain space
  89. and my belly space
  90. and the opening of my cervix.
  91. Those drawings are leading me into this new path.
  92. I'm beginning to actually take casts
  93. that I made of myself when I was pregnant,
  94. and friends of mine when they've been pregnant,
  95. and putting them onto the surface of the painting.
  96. When I start feeling really stuck in one place,
  97. I need to change,
  98. and that's where I'm seeing 
    and demanding the shift
  99. of geometric, simple shapes
  100. into the reality of my body.
  101. After my mom had given birth to my second sister,
  102. we were at a gas station
  103. and I was in the back seat of the car.
  104. I remember watching her fill up the gas tank.
  105. Her shirt started being covered with water.
  106. I was like, "What is going on?"
  107. And she was leaking--
  108. she was letting-down--
  109. because my sister was crying next to me.
  110. Her shirt was being covered in milk.
  111. There's these little things that we 
    can buy to prevent that from happening.
  112. But that was such a beautiful experience
  113. and it's something that I want to make art about.
  114. Really having the space to question 
    what it is I'm making and why
  115. has really put all of these things
  116. I felt that I had language for
  117. into question.
  118. "Why bright colors?"
  119. "Why high contrast?"
  120. "Why geometric forms?"
  121. I think these are all questions,
  122. as artists, we have to continue to ask ourselves.
  123. "Why are we doing what we're doing?"
  124. "What is beauty?"
  125. "And why is it beautiful?"
  126. "And what makes beauty?"