Evan Holloway: Art History = Successful Products + Time (a smorgasbord)

Evan Holloway, "Steaming Hot Sculptures," 2011. More info below. Link to YouTube video of Holloway's sculptures in action.

Evan Holloway, "Steaming Hot Sculptures," 2011. More info below. Link to YouTube video of Holloway's sculptures in action.

EH: see above, see below, more to come - have fun

EH: see above, see below, more to come - have fun

Hey friends – pretend it’s London and it’s 1984. Somewhere outside the window (we have a place in London now – a basement flat, foot level window on the street, open to the pungent London summer) people are talking – we begin to make out language so we follow the words/they capture our minds/intrigued, we all want to see as much as hear/up, we peer  through our opening, pressing our chests to the clammy wall/Aah! We catch a glimpse of shod feet: one rough and tumble skinny ankle black laced boot and one pair of tattered moccasins, stained and worn. We watch as these two characters dance their words.

In this pas de deux Skinny Boot Person leads and Old Soft Shoes follows.

[the following text is courtesy the English band Long Pig and KPFK’s Andrea ‘enthal and her 1980’s radio show Twelve O’Clock Rock)

It goes:

SkBP: I want you to talk to me.

OSS: I talk to you.

SkBP: Alright, um, right. I want you to say this thing with me: “Why do people find each other strange? I can’t tell one derange from another derange.” Can you say that?

OSS: Whatisdis?

SkBP: “Why do people find each other strange?”

OSS: Why do peepil

SkBP: Why do people

OSS: Why do people

SkBP: …find each other strange.

OSS: each othur strng

SkBP: I can’t tell

OSS: can’t tell

SkBP: one derange from another derange

OSS: ?????????

(laughter from somewhere)

SkBP: Why do people (drum beat starts) find each other strange I can’t tell one derange…..

On it goes into the night.

Evan Holloway, "Smell Oven," 1997 plus unnamed friend. Image from Marc Foxx.

Evan Holloway, "Smell Oven," 1997 plus unnamed friend. Image from Marc Foxx.

Evan Holloway, "Incense Sculpture," 2001. Notice the carpet base and the burning incense. Oooh, cool man. Looks ready for a key party, what?

Evan Holloway, "Incense Sculpture," 2001. Notice the carpet base and the burning incense. Oooh, cool man. Looks ready for a key party, what?

Smell Oven, not friendless, simply waiting.

Smell Oven, not friendless, simply waiting.

One of the things we talked about in Evan Holloway’s studio is his proposition which I paraphrased in the title for this post. I sort of understand this reading of things, unfortunately I usually fall into a simplistic binary argument when I start talking theory: “to be preferred” vs “detestable,” “spiritual” against “material,” etc. This takes me no where. And (this to our mutual dismay) typing the phrase I just typed makes me sing Olivia Newton-John’s song “And It Gets Me Nowhere” to myself. Scary world.

Continuing:

Joan Brown Fur Rat

“Funk” catalog from Berkeley Art Museum

Review in Time magazine, May 5, 1967

Modernist sculpture

Evan was also excited about Joan Brown’s Fur Rat and showed me his copy of the Berkeley Art Museum catalog Funk. In it was a small black and white photo of Brown’s sculpture – as Holloway noted, commenting on the quality of the image, “I didn’t even know the rat’s legs were tin foil!”

He then told me a story of seeing Charles Ray and Jason Meadows in conversation at LACMA’s David Smith sculpture show. Ray stated that “contemporary artists often use tables and chairs in their work because there is a place for them already.”  A place in our minds, I took this to mean, and the artist can draw upon our understanding of these objects for his or her own uses. Evan Holloway extends this formula a bit, “There is also a place made (in our consciousness) for abstract shapes, we allow for abstraction.” Loss of meaning is another aspect to this recognition of abstract sculptures – the original moment for these works of art has passed so if an artist makes, and presents as new, an abstract sculpture our familiarity and  history get in the way of a new reading. The artist’s frustration then, is in enjoying abstract shapes but being dissatisfied in the making of them. If an artist can’t create some tension in our understanding, find some way to resist or defy a simplistic understanding of the object, then the work suffers.

Evan Holloway has a history of… being playful with his art.

Hello again Evan,

I wonder if I may ask a few more questions? I first want to acknowledge having waited quite some time to address your work and our studio visit in Notes. Sorry. I really do want to approach your work honestly and thoroughly. I know the stove piece in Home Show, Revisited fits in with your other sculptures – some connections I can draw myself, but for some I am drawing a blank. Shooting blanks, so to speak.

Classic Modernist sculpture, at the Union Bank Plaza, Jerome Kirk, "Aquarius," stainless steel. btw - Union Bank Plaza is the one redevelopment plaza remaining with original plantings. Mostly, anyway the others have been reconfigured with mid 1990's Impatiens and things like that. Also the Union Bank bldg is one of the more classically beautiful of the original downtown sky scrapers. Go see. Cool bridge across Figueroa to the Bonaventure, too.

Classic Modernist sculpture, at the Union Bank Plaza, Jerome Kirk, "Aquarius," stainless steel. btw - Union Bank Plaza is the one redevelopment plaza remaining with original plantings. Mostly, anyway the others have been reconfigured with mid 1990's Impatiens and things like that. Also the Union Bank bldg is one of the more classically beautiful of the original downtown sky scrapers. Go see. Cool bridge across Figueroa to the Bonaventure, too.

The sculptures that spring instantly to my mind as related, and these because we talked about Modernist sculpture in your studio, are the early works that made direct reference to Modernist sculpture: the “Bank” piece, “Incense Sculpture” etc. Another direct connection would probably be “Smell Box,” of which I have only heard. Interestingly, I heard of this sculpture from Katy Brennan. (Is it possible that you or someone ‘reprised’ this piece for one of her ‘closing in LA’ shows?) Her mention of this work intrigued me – there is something about closed boxes and transference of an experience outside the gallery that is nice.

The parking meter sculpture you made for LACE reminds me of this. The LACE piece is more about institutional frustration, but as as viewer I can vicariously get a thrill for the lucky parker and preen my proletariat self by imagining a bureaucrat foiled. And again, the sculpture for Home Show makes reference to a box, closed or open – the stove and oven. Instead of transferring the experience elsewhere though, the sculpture brings the gallery experience into ‘an other’ place. And then transforms matter for us. Um, art as transformational experience.

Is this treacherously close to Modernist thought? (Is treachery always this delicious?)

Evan Holloway, "Free Space Meter Boot," 2000 LACE Edition, linked. Description in text.

Evan Holloway, "Free Space Meter Boot," 2000 LACE Edition, linked. Description in text.

Evan Holloway, "Free Space Meter Boot," context photo. Link to LACE.

Evan Holloway, "Free Space Meter Boot," context photo. Link to LACE.

The old Security Pacific Bank Plaza, Alexander Calder, "Four Arches," painted steel 63 feet high. 333 South Hope Street. Do not suppose that by including these images of Modernist sculpture I am making fun of the art or the artists, I'm not and I think neither was Evan Holloway - these pictures make the point that an artist working today, with this work as background, cannot simply re-use the same impulse but must acknowledge the accumulated history. If fun is being poked it is perhaps at the very human tendency to hold on to an image or an aesthetics until it becomes merely a style - and this is a disservice to artistic thought.

The old Security Pacific Bank Plaza, Alexander Calder, "Four Arches," painted steel 63 feet high. 333 South Hope Street. Do not suppose that by including these images of Modernist sculpture I am making fun of the art or the artists, I'm not and I think neither was Evan Holloway - these pictures make the point that an artist working today, with this work as background, cannot simply re-use the same impulse but must acknowledge the accumulated history. If fun is being poked it is perhaps at the very human tendency to hold on to an image or an aesthetics until it becomes merely a style - and this is a disservice to artistic thought.

Evan Holloway, "The Sculpture That Goes with the Bank," 2001. Marc Foxx Gallery, linked.

Evan Holloway, "The Sculpture That Goes with the Bank," 2001. Marc Foxx Gallery, linked.

Evan Holloway, "Left Handed Guitarist," 1998 - I saw this in a show at the CCAC in SFO that also included Sam Durant's 'Monument to Altamont.' (Approximate title) Nice show, nice pairing.

Evan Holloway, "Left Handed Guitarist," 1998 - I saw this in a show at the CCAC in SFO that also included Sam Durant's 'Monument to Altamont.' (Approximate title) Nice show, nice pairing.

I’ve been reading enough writing online to understand that there is a social aspect to your work – the sculptures ask for people to engage them either physically or intellectually, or risk missing the point. I get this. For “Left-handed Guitarist” I must provide the names of various guitar heroes, for “Despair” I start the ball rolling (how like life!), for the new stove piece I spritz the hot sculpture to make steam.

The sculptures in the show at the Hammer, the fiberglass one’s, seem to me about balance – I provide my own sense of balance for the sculptures to act upon and upset. What is the title 48″ x 97″ about?

(re: writing online, eg. Bruce Hainley on your work is pretty spectacular! Link to email convo btwn Holloway and Hainley to accompany Holloway’s 2008 Pomona College Museum exhibition here, “Towards a Funner Laocoon,” Hainley in Summer 2000 Artforum courtesy FindArticles here,  link to SMMoA where catalog for “Mise en Scene” is still available here, Pomona College Project Series 35, Evan Holloway link here)

The aesthetics of the tree branch sculptures – and this is an aesthetic you seem to be revisiting in the newer wire work at the Hammer – is quite as memorably beautiful as the Modernist sculptures of those old and dead guys. I immediately want to ‘brand’ them in my head, the way I might when looking at a Brancusi or a Giacometti work. But, and this is a congratulatory but, they are completely of their moment, having the sincerity of the hand-made and arched eyebrow plus distance of irony and humor. Pretty sweet.

Evan Holloway, "Gray Scale," 2000, tree branches, paint and metal 78 x 30 x 100 in.

Evan Holloway, "Gray Scale," 2000, tree branches, paint and metal 78 x 30 x 100 in.

I think this turns into a physical aesthetic question: what is it about skinny line sculpture that you find satisfying? What does the shape communicate?

Evan Holloway sculpture from Boooom.com, linked.

Evan Holloway sculpture from Boooom.com, linked.

I’m thinking back and not finding a whole lot of color in your work. Perhaps in the heads. (Um, gee Geoff and the rainbow ones, as illustrated above!!!!! Dork.) Often natural color, as in native to a material, is emphasized or made use of. The new work at the Hammer as I recall was also muted in tone. Hmm, although you do claim “red” hot status for the stove sculptures. Using your cruciform chart for conceptual organization does this make your work mostly cool and wet?

The Funk catalog you showed me has been very helpful – those were artists who had a good Cali disregard, disdain even, for the canon and good senses of humor. “Not fitting in” has been both a blessing and a curse to those Funky artists in terms of career and art historical references. What are your thoughts on “not fitting in” as a strategy for artists and for art-making?

Thanks Evan, it’s nice to talk with you.

Geoff

Evan’s work in Home Show, revisited consisted of several tiny Mod sculptures made of brass (I think) and mounted inside also brass gallery corners. Two of these sat on the burners of a stove in the home of a nice person in Santa Barbara. See various pictures and descriptions scattered about this text.

Steaming Hot Sculptures in their native environment. Photo by Evan Holloway.

Steaming Hot Sculptures in their native environment. Photo by Evan Holloway.

Steaming Hot Sculptures in their native environment. Photo by Evan Holloway. These objects did indeed get steaming hot - the docents turned up the gas and gave us a mister. Mini clouds of steam arose, condensation promised to patinate the pretty brass, the docents shared with us Evan's statement of delight at the transformation, almost alchemical, of water to steam by his art. There's a metaphor here crying to get out. (Hey - crying? Water? Steam? btw the images are huge - 3264 x 2448. If you want Xtreme Dtail then click and see.)

Steaming Hot Sculptures in their native environment. Photo by Evan Holloway. These objects did indeed get steaming hot - the docents turned up the gas and gave us a mister. Mini clouds of steam arose, condensation promised to patinate the pretty brass, the docents shared with us Evan's statement of delight at the transformation, almost alchemical, of water to steam by his art. There's a metaphor here crying to get out. (Hey - crying? Water? Steam? btw the images are huge - 3264 x 2448. If you want Xtreme Dtail then click and see.)

Think of this post as a potential interview, or not, depending. I put many of my favorite images up, as I have long wanted to. Much excitement in Notes on Looking-land. We love images.

Have fun tonight and this weekend. Tell stories to your friends – keep them amused.

Geoff

Addition on July 19, 2011

Enjoy this video of Evan Holloway’s sculptures in action, Evan Holloway – Steaming Hot Sculptures. (I sort of imagined I had linked to this already but cannot find the link…..)

The more of CAF “Home Show, Revisited:

CAF Part 1: Michele O’Marah – Video Portraits

CAF Part 2: Conversation with curator Miki Garcia

CAF Part 3: The Home Show in general – 1988, 1996

CAF Part 4: Florian Morlat – A Monument for the Dovers

CAF Part 5: Bettina Hubby for Home Show, Revisited

CAF Part 6: Jennifer West at Andy Perry’s house

CAF Part 7: Jennifer Rochlin for Home Show, Revisited

CAF Part 8: Evan Holloway: Art History = Successful Products + Time (a smorgasbord)

CAF Part 9: “Home Show” again

CAF Part 10: “One More Time For Home Show 1988

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I love his work. It tickles my funny bone. When I was at Otis I took a class he was guest teaching. It was great. Keep posting.- S

  2. Thanks for writing about Evan Holloway’s “Steaming Hot Modern Sculpture” now showing in Santa Barbara, CA. People might be interested to know that Evan has written a song – words and music- to accompany this “stove piece.” The song entitled “Good Work” and exists as sheet music that is part of a hand-pulled boxed set of 10 etchings and relief prints – one by each of the artists in Home Show, Revisited. The edition of 30 sets was produced by members of the Santa Barbara Printmakers while the Home Show, Revisited artists were developing their installation ideas. Also, the stove shown in your blog is in Evan’s kitchen. The stove in the Show is nearly identical, sans the griddle. As the piece is being heated and spritzed, it is developing a very nice patina.

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