In Hollingsworth’s third exhibition at Nicole Klagsbrun, the artist expands the palette of his abstract paintings and continues his exploration of the physicality of paint. In earlier works, the artist would begin painting by shearing sheets of paint with knives. In the new paintings, some of the largest to date, the artist employs a process in which paint is added in daubs, an augmentation to his earlier approach.
Hollingsworth paints alla prima, a historical technique involving a “wet into wet” impasto paint application. Working against the drying time of the paint, the artist creates a subtly controlled chaos of colors and forms. Hollingsworth’s skill in handling the unpredictability of paint is excitingly visible in the final project.
While the work references Abstract Expressionism in its refined use of gesture, it abandons characteristics of Modernist painting by treating paint as a constructive material. Hollingsworth’s technique emphasizes the tension between paint’s materiality and its representational function. Hollingsworth broadens the traditional menu of tools beyond brushes, palette knives, and spatulas and creates custom-made tools such as daubers made of cloth and cardboard in various shapes. Such tools permit the artist to explore attributes of paint that cannot be realized with traditional art supplies.
For Hollingsworth, a search for a personal language of painting derives from the enduring qualities of paint-as-material and a desire to blend work and play. Vibrant oranges, greens and reds are the backgrounds for drawn shapes and overlapping marks. Whimsical forms hang together in a delicate balance. Paint is thrown and dropped and scraped off; paint is troweled and smeared and daubed; paint is printed with shards of paper and sheared flat; paint is flicked and teased and tendrils drawn and spun, conjuring associations of flora and fauna. Throughout these actions, there is an acute recognition of the mutability of paint, and a subtlety with the material.
Dennis Hollingsworth chronicles his studio practice on his website.
Related blog post: Tom Moody