Loie Hollowell - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale Hong Kong Wednesday, June 22, 2022 | Phillips

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  • “My work is an expression of my core sensuality. I’m a body experiencing desire, experiencing pleasure. It is sensual and needy and dirty and expressive.”
    — Loie Hollowell


    One of the most sensational artists in the contemporary art scene today, Loie Hollowell’s pulsating, almost psychedelic paintings explore themes of sexuality through allusions to human forms, evoking bodily landscapes and transforming figures and movements into abstraction. 


    Characterised by luminous, contrasting colours and voluptuous biomorphic forms that are mysteriously hypnotic, Hollowell’s Linked Lingam in Red and Blue is an unapologetic celebration of the female bodily landscape. Utilising abstract forms, clean lines and graduated shading, Hollowell creates works that are uncanny and unsettling, with shapes resembling plants, portals or futuristic monoliths. Showcasing the artist’s classic Lingam motif, the symbol is an abstract representation of the Hindu deity Shiva – the supreme force who creates, protects and transforms the universe.



    ‘Searing Source of Intense Light’


    "Light has become a central character in my work. Often there will be a light source, a stream of light that penetrates the entire dimension of the canvas. The light moves through the action in the painting, or the action is coming out of the stream of light. Those areas of chiaroscuro and high-intensity light are places of arousal. The pulsing light is like the body's energy — the pulsing of sex or the pulsing of the heart. During climax it feels like there's a bright light pouring out of me, like I'm going to explode. That's the kind of light energy I want to create in my paintings."
    — Loie Hollowell


    Growing up in sunny California, Hollowell cites the state's flooding light as the source that drives her creations. The sharp contrasts of light and dark, forms protruding from the surface of the canvas within her oeuvre – at times enhanced by or hidden from the illusory depictions of light – are all in service to the form of the painting, as the artist attempts to grasp the ‘searing source of intense light’ that ‘lies deep in her soul’ i. In Linked Lingam in Red and Blue, a glowing almond shape of teal emanates a soft glow from within, complimented by the pair of red Lingams that swirl outwards towards the edge of the canvas. The dark blue background is carefully rendered in graduated hues, echoing the luminous centre.



    Left: Robert Irwin, Untitled, 1968,
    acrylic and cellulose nitrate lacquer on aluminium and light
    Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York
    © Robert Irwin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

    Right: Agnes Pelton, Light Centre, 1947-48


    Hollowell’s paintings share a similar devotion to the exploration of light and shadow as seen in works by Robert Irwin and Agnes Pelton, both cited by Hollowell as her sources of inspirations. As the pioneering artist of the Light and Space movement in Southern California, Robert Irwin’s Untitled (1968) is a mixed media piece that challenges the viewer’s perception of physical space. Its subtle surfaces fade gently outwards, overlapping into a soft cloverleaf pattern. Set against a white wall and softly lit from four angles, the work encourages the eye to spend more time in understanding what it sees – what is nearer and what is further, what is solid and what is immaterial light.


    Creating a similar visual effect with the use of different mediums, Hollowell’s canvases often employ carefully planned shading that creates an optical illusion, blurring the boundaries between the flat plane and the three-dimensional. Simultaneously beautiful and confusing, the shapes in both Irwin and Hollowell’s works join and separate into one another, creating an ethereal sense of light and volume. Meticulously rendered, Hollowell’s works showcase her technical prowess in manipulating constructed shadow and constructed light versus real light and real shadow.



    Inside Out


    “... (How I) come about composing a work, is trying to think of a way to articulate an experience that is so internal, but put it out onto the skin of the canvas, and externalise it.”
    — Loie Hollowell


    Derived directly from the artist’s personal, corporeal experiences in life, Hollowell’s paintings make thinly veiled references to the female sex organ, and the physical and emotional experience of pregnancy and childbirth. Her work is created in direct correlation with the proportions of her own body, be it the head, breasts, or a pregnant belly.



    Georgia O’Keeffe, Blue Flower, 1918
    Collection of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe
    © Georgia O'Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


    Through breaking down her own experiences of sex, menstruation, or being pregnant, the artist transforms physiological sensations into personal blueprints within the rectangular landscape of a canvas. Deconstructing her personal life through the formal vernacular of light, space, colour and texture, Hollowell situates her painting within the art historical lineage of fellow American female artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe and Judy Chicago, who also countered the idea of pure abstraction with references to the human body. Elevating flat geometric expression with autobiographical analogies of the physical and psychological, Hollowell’s creations are visceral, honest, and seductive.


    “I realised the abstraction can hold within it that sensation or that emotion by its colour, its composition, its texture.”
    — Loie Hollowell

    Collector’s Digest


    Born 1983 in California, Loie Hollowell lives and works in New York. Known for her oeuvre that transforms the female nude into abstraction, Hollowell quickly rose to global prominence after being discovered by Marc Glimcher, president of PACE Gallery, who praised her as a ‘truly rare talent’ ii. PACE quicily held several solo exhibitions for Hollowell across their international locations, including London in 2018; Hong Kong in 2018; New York in 2019; and PACE online in 2020. Notable recent exhibitions include a solo show at the Long Museum in Shanghai, titled Loie Hollowell: Recalibrate, which ran from 24 April – 11 July 2021, and The Sacred Contract with Konig Galerie, lasting from 28 April to 13 June, 2021, and Starting from 0, PACE Seoul, 13 May – 25 June, 2022.


    Hollowell’s works are in the collections of Arts Council England, London (UK); He Art Museum, Shunde (CN); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (US); Long Museum, Shanghai (CN); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (US); Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern (CH), amongst others. The artist is represented by PACE Gallery.



    Loie Hollowell, quoted in Katy Hessel, ‘Loie Hollowell’, The Great Women Artists Podcast, August 2020, online

    ii Marc Glimcher, quoted in Nate Freeman, ‘How Newly Minted Art Market Star Loie Hollowell’s Prices Rose More Than 1,200 Percent in Just Three Years’, Artnet News, 15 September 2019, online

    • Provenance

      Feuer/Mesler, New York
      Viana Art, New York
      Phillips, New York, 8 December 2020, lot 406
      Acquired at the above sale by the present owner


Linked Lingam in Red and Blue

signed, titled and dated 'Loie Hollowell "Linked Lingam" "Linked Lingam in Red and Blue" 2015 Loie Hollowell' on the reverse
oil on linen mounted on panel
70.9 x 52.9 cm. (27 7/8 x 20 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2015.

Full Cataloguing

HK$1,800,000 - 2,800,000 

Sold for HK$3,024,000

Contact Specialist

Charlotte Raybaud
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2026

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 22 June 2022