Dennis HOLLINGSWORTH - Wellspring
Jean-Luc and Takako Richard present the first solo exhibition of American painter Dennis Hollingsworth at Richard Paris titled “Wellspring”, from October 5 to November 13, 2019. The exhibition is composed in two sections, a retrospective section and his newest monochrome paintings.
“Wellspring” refers to his recent paintings which headline the exhibition. They commemorate the anniversary of the seminal moment in his early teenage years when he had realized that painting was his destiny as he stood mesmerized in front of Goya’s “Saturn Devouring His Children” in the Prado Museum, Madrid.
“It was 1969, I was 13 years old. This was a specific moment of my experience in the Prado, after the sequence of the galleries of Bosch, Dürer, Velasquez, Ribera… that I came upon Goya: his cartoons for the tapestries, his court paintings and then his Black Paintings. I remember standing in front of “Saturn, Devouring His Children” and Goya’s world of paint telescoped into my eyes and mind. Everything and everyone around me disappeared and the only things that existed for that long, super-saturated moment was this painting and me. I don’t know exactly how long that moment lasted. It could have been forever, or it could have been only a minute. It could have been both. As the ordinary world returned to my senses, a resolution grew within me to become an artist, to become a painter, to return and remain in that realm so saturated with paint and churning with arts’ urgent impulse.”
His journey fifty years hence is shown in a selection of paintings from different periods of time that tell the backstory of his oeuvre as an all-embracing introduction of his art to the Parisian audience. He achieved international recognition in the 90’s by adding sculptural shapes of oil painting on raw canvases, making a statement about the revival of Painting in a prolonged period in which the mainstream intellectuals pretended that Painting was dead. For over twenty years, he has been searching for the extents of embodied paint. Within the limits of the surface tension of impasto, his recombinant lexicon of form involving prickly balls, stamps, stomps, flings, prints, and flowering peels of paint is screened and sheared through images of nature, text and the broken technological screen. Philadelphia architect Louis Kahn famously asked a brick what it wanted to be. Rhetorically, he was giving the nature of materials a voice in expression. Hollingsworth has asked impasto paint a similar question. The answer lies between the limited and limitless possibilities of the medium.
The expression of figurative references in monochromes is symptomatic of Dennis Hollingsworth’s art. The Alpha and Omega of the monochrome, starting with “White on White” and ending with Yves Klein’s “Blue Monochrome” have long been associated with the acme of Abstract Painting. The figuration within the abstract field of a monochrome is Hollingsworth’s reference to Goya’s paintings and an explicit turn from the absolutism implied in purist monochrome painting. The artist also purposely left the color of the canvas visible with a figuring edge mask, further problematizing the implicit end game of the 20th century monochrome. Dennis Hollingsworth escapes narrowly definitive classifications in these examples and others as it is his natural creative process to constantly innovate and surprise himself.
The diversity of his painting practice is mirrored in the diversity of his experience. Born in Madrid, Spain, his childhood was spent in eleven locations around the world, including Philippines, Panama, and Las Vegas. Once a sailor in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, always an architect by way of his first degree, he is a graduate of the Claremont Graduate University in Southern California. His works are in the permanent collections of the MOCA Los Angeles, CA, The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS, The Akron Museum, Akron OH, The Akzo Nobel Collection, Amsterdam, Netherlands, The Colección Riera Roura, Barcelona, Spain. Dennis Hollingsworth lives and works in NYC and in Tossa de Mar, Spain’s Catalan Costa Brava.