erased in Photoshop

A good example of the erased-in-Photoshop genre. That was what the Whitney forgot in the specimens it put in the 2001 "Bitstreams" show: wit. (Instead we got "whit.") (Why keep harping on that show? Even though it was 8 years ago it was kind of the arrival and death of computer art in the museum.)

The linked example comes from lalblog.tumblr, but there doesn't appear to be an author of this thing, just lots of links to other tumblr sites. Again, much preferable to having a computer genius touted as the only person doing the gimmick.

Dennis Hollingsworth 2

dennis hollingsworth

detail of trio

Haven't written about artist Dennis Hollingsworth in a while. He has a good statement up about what his blog is about. The idea of a virtual studio visit compels--this should be a legitimate subject for art writing. The critic could talk about the blog-studio and relate it to what s/he knows about the work. In Hollingsworth's case, photos convey a sense of the complexity of the paintings but his detailed explanations of studio practices, tools, and preparations for exhibitions make a subject unto themselves. One could talk about images of the paintings, as images, without presuming to say they are the same as the work.* (Have done some of the above in previous posts.)

Hollingsworth speaks confidently about his art and his response to some critics after a discussion on my old blog is a marvel of studio Jiu-Jitsu. I recommend this to certain new media people who are touchy about criticism and only respond passively--criticism provides an opportunity to talk about your program, if you have a program.

*See also Martin Kippenberger and the Virtual Surface

Dennis Hollingsworth 1

Have been rewriting an older post about the artist Dennis Hollingsworth:

Dennis Hollingsworth's paintings have been mentioned here a few times. What follows is an attempt to describe the work and answer some criticisms of it.

Let's start by saying what it definitely isn't:

"just about paint"

That's like saying that The Rite of Spring is just about musical notes. If you think the canvases are some dull, said-a-million-times statement about materiality, as some commenters have suggested, please look again and remember that the whorls, blobs, and explosions are not mere accidents but also a record of events shaped by a human consciousness. Not a vision of an animate cosmos as literal as, say, Blake's, but still a teeming universe of suggestive contours and textures, thwarting powers of speech--a morphed mashup of animals, ghosts, genetic mutations, war wounds, and impossibly tangled plant life, at least in this viewer's art-prompted reckoning.

One could say in '80s jargon that his thick paint is a hyperrealized version of past expressionist art--a Baudrillard term meaning roughly "on steroids." But to call it pornographic, as one commenter did, rather ignores the joyful, non-synthetic element. The artist says the work is an "affirmation of paint" after the negation of the post-Modern years. But does that make it Modernist? If so, it's closer to surreal, abject side of Modernism that Clement Greenberg and other 20th Century critics tried to edit out of history. The colors may be joyful, but the sea urchin-like blobs that cling to everything seem vaguely alien and parasitic. The intricate cutting and slicing of organic forms suggests an anatomist's inner burrowing.

And lastly you have the linguistic side of Hollingsworth's work--a hermetic system of recurring elements (which have names--see Scott Speh's review) that serve as a private lexicon in a state of perpetual breakdown and reshuffling. This recombinant practice hews closer to postmodernism than the Modernism that forever proclaimed its abstract vocabularies as new and scientifically derived. Hollingsworth's work is aware of nonrepresentational conventions and builds on the limited vocabularies of Peter Halley, Jonathan Lasker, et al, who in turn built on the Abstract Expressionists. Yet ultimately his fearlessness to engage in actual, dense, convoluted, expressionistic (or expression-like) paint handling gives him a richer and more varied range of iconography than those predecessor "deconstructors."