July 28 - Aug 22, 2015
Kristin Hollis uses the figure as framework, with building blocks of brushwork and paint. Her history is in drawing, compelling mark-making in charcoal and graphite on paper over many years. But in this, her first exhibition at Jonathan Smart Gallery, she continues her project on canvas, drawing now in paint.
This however, might not be as easy as it sounds. Brushes laden with oil paint against the tooth of canvas are a very different beast to a stick of charcoal on paper. Issues of tone may be easier in graphite, whilst the breadth of palette allowed by painting can be a pitfall for the cavalier or adventurous. Questions of composition and suggestion through brevity of form are similar across mediums, though. And this is where Hollis is strong.
Take He, for example. A single figure, fresh faced and very public school, looks directly out of the painting, his head small and front on. His body long in the composition and broadly defined by the cut-in background is in three-quarter view, not quite profile. This is a classical device of the figure painter but a gentle surprise nonetheless. What is even more compelling though, is the painted area about a sleeve that is a landscape of marks entirely unto itself. Smaller in size and lighter in treatment than any other area of the painting, this is Hollis confident and having fun. Freed from the need of description, this is mark-making at its playful best. The show is called Painting after all, and it is that process, that revelry, which Hollis enjoys a much as she does the rendering of form.
So there is considerable joy here, albeit a touch frayed around the edges at times. Mummy is the full painterly press – a chair close up, its upholstery a marvellous brick red but with curious central hole. Dot is all a frenzy – her eyes, bobbled black cardigan and blue ground utterly dotty against the wonderful stripes that undulate up and down her blouse. There is a similar variety in the painted fabric of They. The two jackets are described differently, but very convincingly, across this poignant embrace between two older men. And then there’s the taut psychology of Heads, whereby different aspects of a male personality are borne out in the four heads atop one generous double breasted coat.
This is a handsome show Kristin. Welcome to the crew.
Details of works
He oil on canvas 1520 x 1015mm