REVIEW: Loie Hollowell's "One Opening Leads to Another" @ GRIMM, Amsterdam
There is a lore about Dutch Light, such that German painter Max Lieberman wrote of a "translucent veil", a country where " everything is bathed in light and air." In her debut at GRIMM Gallery during the Amsterdam Art Weekend, Loie Hollowell takes us through the birth canal for her debut solo showcase One Opening Leads to Another, at their Keizersgracht location. In eight pieces, the artist delivers the experience of childbearing in harmonious abstract compositions built from delicately textured geometric shapes.
After a successful solo show exploring Hollowell's relationship with different stages of pregnancy, from conception and birth to motherhood, One Opening Leads to Another follows with focusing the experience of giving birth. Previously using a vibrant and joyful palette to capture feelings of hopeful excitement while carrying a new life within, the artist uses more earthy, gutsier tones for the new body of work that travels through various stages of nativity. Seen as "portraits of certain experiences," the size of the paintings is notably smaller than previous work in which she portrayed her entire body and used a larger-scale canvas.
With clearly defined titles, such as Deep Breath, Squeezed Cheeks, or Push Out, Hollowell excises her own emotions and opens a wide range of interpretations. "I'm battling with the paintings, but I'm interested in how that's actually reading to other people." Fascinated by how light enters sculptural space, each image evolves in important sequence. "For me, it's so challenging to paint on a three-dimensional space. It's really fun, that's why I do it. But it's also just dealing with the light, because when these are just shaped white surfaces, there's all kinds of shadows and stuff happening. So I'm trying to put paint onto something that's already a built-up space." Basking in that peculiar Dutch light wafting through the large gallery windows, the paintings glow and the process of awakening begins.
Text and photo credit Sasha Bogojev