An exhibition of works by the artist Laurel Holloman known for her large-scale energetic paintings and dynamic brushstrokes opened at the Bankside Gallery in London.
Laurel Holloman’s paintings are characterized by a special use of color and movement, combining bold brushstrokes with finer strokes while using a variety of techniques. Her art deals with the origin of life, the boundless world that surrounds us, in which connection to one another connects us. Her works radiate real passion and momentum. Laurel Holloman touches the viewer’s senses while her arts are being full of freedom and strong emotional influences. The emotions on the canvas make her work truly deep, real and harmonious.
A day after the opening of her exhibition at the Bankside Gallery, the artist was happy to talk about the magical world that surrounds her and share how she directs creativity throughout the work.
I really like the way You reflect the emotions in your work. It's unique to see how You show your individuality through the canvas to the world. How do you use your emotions during your creative work and what do you discover in the process?
I start with an idea or a color palette. I wanted more monochromatic color field paintings in Deep Dive. Some pieces are layered over a month or two (like the abstracted florals), while other pieces go very quickly and often have an emotion that pulls through the entire painting because I can see very quickly that something is forming. The painting “This is Where We All Came From” went very quickly and I started to see an energy in the piece that had a visual representation of veins (like the inside of a body) something that looked based in science. I would say the painting had a feel of a matrix very early on. This piece went fast because I blended solvents to keep it loose and I used interference powder to lighten the areas behind the darker brushstrokes.
When you are working this way, you know that the looseness of the paints will settle and dry later in the day, so it is a quicker painting about layering in confident precise strokes as your brush picks up highlights and low lights as you weave each stoke on top of the other. I saw very quickly that the range of blues was giving the painting a feel of depth and 3 dimensions. I would say some of it is luck but mainly it is knowing and seeing that there is an emotion running through the brushstrokes. The skill set is to recognize it and then to go back and highlight it in order to get dimension from it. I do not go to work with this emotion every day. I would say it is more technical. If there is emotion running through it, it is coming from my unconscious. I am only trying to save the result and embellish it. Deep Dive progressed more after I saw the exhibition in Pershing Square (2020) in which several of my paintings were blown up to 8 by 8 foot-squares. I felt each square had its own world. I wanted to expand on that.
What do you consider most important to convey through your paintings?
I would like the viewer to be taken to a special place in their memory. It could be floating in the sea, while staring up at the sky lying in the tall grass as a child, or swimming through an ocean full of seaweed. I want to convey a feeling or energy without putting a direct stamp on it. I would say it is close to how you may smell something. It is blurred like in a dream. It could be more metaphorical like seeing movement or color that represents an emotion of love or hate or even chaos. I lean in more to images that reflect nature, but I do not shy away from color field paintings that may represent human emotion.
The power of deeply moving emotions and the feeling of infinite freedom meet as a soft undulating sensuality in your works of art. What is the process of giving your soul to a work of art as a whole?
I work almost every day in the studio, and it is a daily ritual of painting that includes ‘seeking and discovering’ as a way to create my own language in paint. It feels soulful but not every painting is that dramatic. Often it is still very, very technical. The abstracts are more technical than one can imagine. They simply either convey something or they fall flat and, in that moment, you have to make a change to the painting or not use the piece.
A Moment Apart, 2022
If You Had My Love, 2022
I would like to ask You about the power that is on your works. I’m interested in your process of bringing it all to the surface. How do you work with this? Can you put the elusive into words?
I am still learning this process, but I think the important part is mainly about focus. It is about completely focusing on what world you are creating and what story is it telling.
Your second solo exhibition is on display at the Bankside Gallery. The discovery of water and land and the connection with nature receive special attention. What inspired you to make this exhibition?
It is still very close to the collections Everglow (2016) and The Fifth Element (2014) . This has been an ongoing theme from the beginning. I have a passion for nature and feel most content outside. With Covid, we became more isolated with everyone being on tech. I felt desperate during this time to be in nature. We really need nature now more than ever, and our environment is at risk.
Do you share a few thoughts on the close connection between nature and emotions? How do you see this?
I see it simply as someone who craves being connected to nature. As a child I had time and freedom to be outside. There were no smart phones and no internet. I was outside every day and it was a freer time. The painting “Flashlights and Fireflies” is based on my childhood of playing spotlight tag in my neighborhood in the summer. I was free outside most of the time, especially at night in the summer. In my small neighborhood parents just let the kids run around. It was in the 70’s and 80’s, when parents had less information so they had less fear.
My parents valued teaching me about the see, fishing, riding horses, catching crabs at the seashore. I worry my kids will not have enough of these memories, so I have worked hard during my travels to give them a less urban life. I now live on 5 acres property in Texas, so I feel much more connected to nature when I wake up to deer and foxes are in my yard. I think if you stare at the horizon and watch a sunset, see the sun shining through the water, hugging a tree or having the sea splash your face these are the moments of connection to the earth. They are moments that reset us spiritually, physically, and emotionally. They are the moments that remind us there is a world around us that can fuel our inner world much more than money, or the perfect body, or a big fancy house. They are the moments to connect to the stillness of nature. If you are missing those connections your inner world can become very empty. Nature is part of a value system. It aligns with mine. I was raised this way.
Evolution of Pride, 2022
The exhibition is open until 31 July 2022 at the Bankside Gallery in London.
The Deep Dive exhibition was co-created with the Claudine Gil Gallery.
Laurel Holloman’s Solo Exhibitions:
2022: Deep Dive, London
2019: Memory and Movement, Galerie Joseph, Paris
2018: Color Forest (duo exhibition with sculptor Susi Kramer), Fondazione Luciana Matalon, Milan, Italy
2017: Fertile Ground, Bankside Gallery, London, UK
2016: Everglow, Museum Jan van der Togt, Amstelveen, NL
2015: The Innocents, Menier Gallery, London, UK
2014: The Fifth Element, Galerie Joseph, Paris, France
2013: All the World Inside, Palazzo Italia, Berlin, Germany
2012: Free Falling, Ateneo of Venice, Venice, Italy
2012: Coeur Libre, Pantheon Town Hall, Paris, France
Photos: Ádám Adrienn
The artist in front of The Last Forgiveness (2022) painting.