November 6, 2003

Peering through my Fingers, Part II

NOVEMBER 7 - 13, 2003

The sculptures of Lynn Aldrich, the paintings of Dennis Hollingsworth and the puppets of Anaphoria
by Doug Harvey

Another underrated artist from the ?90s scene in L.A. is painter Dennis Hollingsworth, whose sumptuous, topographically convoluted abstractions always look so amazing that their rigorous conceptual underpinnings can be easily overlooked. Not easily enough for Hollingsworth to be lumped with the utterly-devoid-of-conceptual-underpinnings school of L.A. abstract painters, but just enough that you find yourself deeply engrossed in the sheer physicality and sensual detail of the work long before you realize the artist is shuffling the same deliberately limited repertoire of stock gestures in each canvas. Hollingsworth?s current show at Chac Mool derives from his standard methodology ? oil paints in a might-as-well-be arbitrary range of colors, applied wet-on-wet in liberal doses using one of a handful of specific techniques ? squeegeed, hurled, troweled, carefully built into a prickly anemonelike forms, etc. Various other excavational procedures remodel the paintscape before it dries. But once it dries, that?s it. The painting is finished and there?s no going back.

The programmatic nature of Hollingsworth?s practice could be taken as a critique of decorative painting or a debunking of the mystique of beauty ? feed a set of parameters with enough varied material and voil?, pretty as a picture! The problem with this interpretation is that I?ve seen other painters try the same thing and consistently produce caca. I prefer to look at Hollingsworth?s process as a distillation of the conceptual filtering and vocabulary building with which all artists grapple. And the plain gorgeousness of the results suggests that Hollingsworth is simply possessed of a virtuosic visual talent, which he chooses to flaunt by combining improvisational immediacy with a structure as codified as a sonnet.

Posted by Dennis at November 6, 2003 1:18 PM

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