Recommended by alum, Irini Miga
A recent show, at Klaus von Nichtssagend gallery, was titled “Table Studies”. I had started thinking about the tables, on which still lifes are commonly situated, as being directly related to the canvas. The arrangements of objects on these domestic surfaces took on the feel of a game or puzzle.
In each painting, there is play and invention in constructing the space and the viewpoint is often mixed. Perhaps there’s a light connection to early Modernist and Cubist ideas of shifting perspectives.
The geometry of the everyday is appealing: oranges, plates, onions are circular, napkins, glasses might be rectangles, the table itself is a square, a rectangle, an oval, or a circle. The spatial relationships and interconnection of such familiar shapes feels like a place for exploration. To this end, there is a slight abstraction of the objects themselves and still life as a genre. I like that the paintings begin from what is familiar and accessible, and can evoke something beyond their subject.
Aside from the shapes and colors as components of the paintings, there are a few other elements that feel crucial. One is space: the space around and in shapes, the imagined air. This emptiness or fullness (it seems it can be interpreted either way) gives the objects more weight. Another aspect is, for lack of a better word, energy. The line work that is formed around the shapes (via the layers of applied paint) feels vibrational or energetic – like little force fields. I like to think about that place where objects meet the spaces or other objects around them.
The French phrase, Nature Morte, contains the word ‘dead’, a concept that I’ve always found interesting in the still life. It affirms that this genre, even amongst paintings, is a place for contemplation/meditation/stillness. From there, I feel the need to create a still life (and painting) where there is a lingering hum of life.
Artist website: http://www.hollycoulis.com/
Gallery websites: https://klausgallery.com/artist/holly-coulis/