Kristin Hollis’s line has always offered an air of authority and a certain vulnerability. It looks easy and confident, yet is exploratory at the same time. In the loose grid paintings, which play the starring role in her new show u n p i c k e d, it is this line in its combination of the eerie, the profound and the tentative which gives the paintings a particular visual rhythm and intensity. Works such as Indigo Net, Bluegrass Baby and Comme Two are beguiling and beautiful and gently simple all at the same time.
So what here has Hollis unpicked? The grid compositions riff on the warp and weave of their stretched linen grounds. Is this the small made compellingly large? Or is it, in the case of Comme Two, something unfathomably mighty, like quantum field galactic origin theory brought down to manageable size? There are biographical references being unpicked in paintings like Mango Mo(u)rning (an elegy to Venezuela where Hollis spent time as a child) and Those $10 PJs from Coolangatta – a surprisingly luminous little painting. There are also grounds of bruised indigo, lustrous ultramarine and yellow that catch the eye here. But it really is the modulation of line, the angling of oil stick with deft movement of wrist and hand, that makes these paintings hum.
Press release courtesy Jonathan Smart Gallery.