Loie Hollowell - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction Hong Kong Sunday, November 28, 2021 | Phillips

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  • “Last year I made a series of 21 by 28-inch paintings, Lick Lick—they were paintings of psychological headspace. I liked that size for exploring the territory of the brain.” — Loie Hollowell

    Phillips is excited to present the first painting from Loie Hollowell’s Lick Lick series to come to auction in Asia. Known for paintings which explore the bodily landscape, Loie Hollowell’s practice lies in a realm situated between abstraction and figuration, the ethereal and corporeal, investigating themes of sexuality, pregnancy and birth.


    Abstracting the human figure, Loie Hollowell’s work explores the relationships between light, volume and scale. The subject matter in Hollowell’s work emerges through phenomenological encounter, rather than outright narrative content, as the work changes within each context and space. Thus, Hollowell instigates a dialogue between the viewer and the artwork, as well as tapping into the depths of her own embodied experience.



    The artist in her New York studio
    © Loie Hollowell, courtesy Pace Gallery. Photo: Melissa Goodwin


    Taking inspiration from her own experiences within her body, such as giving birth, Hollowell matches the size of each piece in correlation to the body part being depicted – be it the head, breasts, groin or the whole body. As she says, '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'i.


    Certain symbols run steadily as motifs throughout Hollowell’s oeuvre, namely the mandorla, ogee and lingam. The mandorla, for example, symbolises the intersection between heaven and earth, male and female, soul and body, representing the totality of existence from which stems the creative power which is the basic matrix for all of creation. These shapes and geometric compositions, juxtaposed with the intensely personal subject matter — her own figure — allow Hollowell to expand the scope of her fiercely individual vulnerability to a universal scale.


    Influenced by the work of the California Light and Space movement — whose participants were fascinated by use of light to manipulate environments and perceptions – as well as Neo‐Tantric painters such as Ghulam Rasool Santosh and Biren De, Hollowell’s works display a masterly knowledge of the interaction of colour and form with their surroundings. By layering high‐density foam and sawdust on panel, then finishing with an application of oil and acrylic, Hollowell blurs the distinction between sculpture and painting, using soft whites to obscure shadows cast by the raised foam forms.


    The diffuse lines between sculpture and painting force the viewer to truly investigate the surface and texture of the work, mirroring the way in which the gaze operates as it preys upon the female object. Unwittingly the viewers themselves are complicit in the hierarchy of power, endowed with the ability to subject the object of their gaze to scrutiny and possession. What is at stake here is the female object and its position in relation to the gaze. Yet, with their supple frangibility, impeccable gradients, intricate brushwork and pulsating colours, Hollowell’s abstracted forms transcend subjection to the gaze, slipping into the metaphysical realm in all their tantalising geometric perfection.


    Hollowell’s reduction of the female form recalls the biomorphic forms and patterns of Georgia O’Keeffe, who 'found (she) could say things with colour and shapes that (she) couldn’t say any other way – things (she) had no words for' which she 'had to create an equivalent for' through pure line and stroke, rather than absolute mimesis. There are also many affinities to the works of Judy Chicago and Agnes Pelton.



    Georgia O’Keeffe, Abstraction Blue, 1927
    Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York
    © 2021 Georgia O'Keeffe Museum / ARS, NY


    The current work, Lick Lick in Green, Blue, Red, is an excellent early example from the artist’s

    Lingam series, featuring a series of ripples emanating from a singular point in the middle. The folds of the lines resemble the contours of a human profile with yonic evocations, and the viewer is instantly mesmerized as the forms seem to tremble and grow in sensual configuration — their very energy enmeshed within the looping intricacies of the brushwork.


    Loie Hollowell received a Master of Fine Arts in Painting at Virginia Commonwealth University and has had multiple solo exhibitions across the globe, such as Pace Gallery, Feuer/Mesler, New York, and GRIMM Keizersgracht, Amsterdam, with her most recent, Recalibrate, taking place at the Long Museum, Shanghai. She has taken part in numerous group exhibitions including at Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles; GRIMM, New York; and Victoria Miro Gallery, London.



    i Loie Hollowell as quoted in Caroline Goldstein, '"My Work Is an Expression of My Sensuality": Watch Painter Loie Hollowell Describe How Her Pregnancy Transformed Her Practice', Artnet News, 15 April 2021, online

    • Provenance

      Private Collection, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      New York, 106 Green, AHHA, 7 November - 13 December 2015


Lick Lick in Blue, Green and Red

signed 'Loie Hollowell' on the overlap; further signed, titled and dated 'Loie Hollowell "Lick Lick in Green Blue and Red" 2015' on the reverse
oil on linen and panel
71.1 x 53.3 cm. (28 x 21 in.)
Painted in 2015.

Full Cataloguing

HK$800,000 - 1,200,000 

Sold for HK$3,780,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction

Hong Kong Auction 29 November 2021