Saturday, 15 September 2012

Evan Holloway - Left-Handed Guitarist

Evan Holloway (born USA 1967) makes idiosyncratic sculptures with an aesthetic more akin to hippy craft workshops than contemporary artists studios, turning matters of taste and any appreciation of slick fabrication on their head. Subtle comments on modern sculpture’s legacy are interwoven repeatedly with playfully painted colours and figures that often appear to be physically trapped within the works themselves. Extensive uses of varying materials combine to produce a complex amalgamation of mathematical, alphabetical and geometric systems, colour spectrum charts and three-dimensional diagrams of social structures with a primitive pleasure in people making and engaging with man-made objects.

Evan Holloway's Left-Handed Guitarist, 1998, is made of foam, paper, plaster and graphite, but mostly foam. The figure bent over a guitar looks as if it's made of Styrofoam that washed up on a beach. Cobain suffered from largely untreated back, stomach and intestinal problems. When he bent over his guitar in this posture, the intensity of the music was not the only reason.

Given that Holloway’s work always engages some bodily aspect by calling attention to its absence or removal, or reflection, his project can be seen to be about finding a path away from or beyond the ego. Left-Handed Guitarist (1998) has a polystyrene Kurt Cobain-like musician teetering on the edge of a gracefully curved platform overlooking (ballasting) a drawing of a shaft hurtling down to a virtual bottomlessness. The quest for the beyond can end in enlightenment or extinction. Rock-and-roll and art, and the mind-altering substances (drugs, booze, sex) stereotypically associated with them, are linked because of the way they alter perception, fucking with it. Such shifts thrill: inside/outside confused, interiority/exteriority (the mind encountering the world - or is that the world encountering the mind?) questioned. As with the virtuoso banners, the blunt sculpture-cum-drawing interaction of Left-Handed Guitarist provides Holloway with a way to contemplate (and poke fun at) the historic hierarchy of artistic media (painting as the apex of artistic endeavour).
Bruce Hainley

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