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LOIE HOLLOWELL: GOING SOFT

Loie Hollowell’s pastel drawings for Going Soft explore the physical and psychological experiences of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Serving as abstracted self-portraits, each drawing reveals the artist’s interior psyche at the time of the work’s creation.

This series began with pastel drawings made by Hollowell after her first pregnancy. At the time, the artist was preparing for Plumb Line, her September 2019 exhibition at Pace’s new gallery in New York. The series has since continued into the first half of 2020 while Hollowell was in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, before and after the birth of her second child.​

Loie Hollowell, Descent into chaos, June 1, 2020, soft pastel and graphite on paper, 20″ × 26″ (50.8 cm × 66 cm). Courtesy: Pace
Loie Hollowell, Mechanics of a breast pump, April 6, 2020, soft pastel and graphite on paper, 20″ × 26″ (50.8 cm × 66 cm). Courtesy: Pace
Loie Hollowell, Birth, perspective from above and below, June 5, 2020, soft pastel and graphite on paper, 20″ × 26″ (50.8 cm × 66 cm). Courtesy: Pace

Hollowell’s recent drawings mark a shift in the artist’s visual language towards a new sense of fluidity, depicting an intensity in form, texture and color, and a departure from the symmetrical composition of her earlier works.

Through experimentation with horizontal fields and organic shapes, Hollowell harnesses the primal energy flowing between mother and child.​

Hollowell’s relationship to the body, mind, and form in her drawings and paintings evokes the approaches of Georgia O’Keeffe and Judy Chicago. These are significant influences for Hollowell and were particularly present in the artist’s mind during this time of seclusion.​

Hollowell’s new works reflect on the physical reality of childbirth and motherhood. Each piece is grounded in the vital force of the body: spheres are halved and quartered into belly, hips, breasts, butt. The almond-shaped mandorla is at times a vagina, a glowing heart space, or a reference to the mind placed at the top of the spine. With nipples spouting milk and hands reaching, Hollowell’s abstractions point to the swirl of postpartum life that is dominated by the needs of others.

Loie Hollowell, Milk Spout, May 5, 2019, soft pastel and graphite on paper, 26″ × 20″ (66 cm × 50.8 cm). Courtesy: Pace
Loie Hollowell, Post-pregnant belly and boobs, June 17, 2020, soft pastel and graphite on paper, 26″ × 20″ (66 cm × 50.8 cm). Courtesy: Pace
Loie Hollowell, Deep tear, March 30, 2020, soft pastel and graphite on paper, 26″ × 20″ (66 cm × 50.8 cm). Courtesy: Pace

LOIE HOLLOWELL: GOING SOFT

Pace Gallery online exhibition

Jun 30 – Jul 14, 2020

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