Jim Holl, Particle Point Collision 6.10.20, Oil on Shikishi Kochi handmade paper. 9.5 x 10.5”

Particle Point Collisions: Jim Holl at the Lockwood

by Claire Lambe

The Lockwood Gallery at 747 Route 28 in Kingston is currently hosting an exhibition of painting and sculpture by Jim Holl entitled Particle Point Collisions. The paintings, oil on board and on handmade paper, are rendered in soft colors that are nevertheless luminous and vibrate. For the paintings, Holl favors a square format – a shape after my own heart. The sculptures, which are both tiny and enormous at the same time (more on that paradox below), are 3D printed pieces stained with pigmented microcrystalline wax, also in soft tones. The exhibition, which was made specifically for this space and curated by Lockwood’s resident curator, Alan Goolman, runs through November 1st when there will be a closing event from 5 – 7 pm.

Jim Holl, “Particle Point Collision 3.27.20.” Oil on board, 17” x 17”

Jim Holl, “Particle Point Collision 3.27.20.” Oil on board, 17” x 17”

The artist, Jim Holl, also an Associate Professor of Art at Marymount Manhattan College, has exhibited widely in venues as diverse as MOMA PS1 and Cross Contemporary in Saugerties; he is a published author of two books, The Landscape Painter, an autobiography 1974 through 1994, and All the Living Things, published in 2017. The title of the autobiography might appear at odds with the work on show at the Lockwood and that which is reproduced here, but it is, in fact, not. In the exhibition catalog, Holl tells of an episode from his earlier life as a landscape painter working on the shores of Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest. He documents his efforts to paint Blake Island across the sound from his studio there. His aim then was to paint what he saw and he evokes the ancient Greek idea of “Mimesis” wherein the artist’s job was “to replicate nature’s presence of beauty and truth.” But the capricious nature of that area’s weather, light, and atmosphere which refused to stay constant long enough for him to complete a painting, forced him to paint from memory and “to make it up.”

Jim Holl, “Particle Point Collision 5.1.20.” Oil on Shikishi Kochi handmade paper. 9.5 x 10.5”

Jim Holl, “Particle Point Collision 5.1.20.” Oil on Shikishi Kochi handmade paper. 9.5 x 10.5”

The contemplation of this ephemeral weather that caused the world in front of his eyes to alter so radically from moment to moment led Holl on a journey from the macro to the micro, and to science, including “an inquiry into physics and ancient philosophies” – this quote from his new book All the Living Things. He became interested in how atoms interact with each other. From there he delved into the subatomic, the universe inside the atom, to the nucleus, its quarks, protons, neutrons, and the electrons that surround the nucleus, each particle tinier than the other – for scale, a mote in the sunlight that you can barely see is millions of atoms wide. This, in turn, led him to the investigations being conducted with the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, and that observatory’s discovery of new particles and entities such as the Higgs Boson through speed-​​of-​​light accelerated collisions. Holl writes about how the collisions produce electromagnetic particle showers that create light: “The particles cannot be seen but the traces of their trajectories can be measured. These traces are the subject of my paintings.” So, Holl is still working from nature and the natural world or, at least, imagining it; he is still searching for that beauty and truth. I can’t speak for the truth in his paintings bereft as I am of a science education having been schooled by nuns for an Mrs., but I can speak for their beauty. Holl is a master colorist – there are no false notes in these paintings. The works have a lyricism to them that one can easily imagine are traces of light flying across their surfaces; they have a feeling of truth.

Installation shot: “From Energy, Matter Emerges 9.2.2020,” 84”w x 36”d x 57”h, and “The New Periodic Table 9.5.2020,” digital print on archival paper, 71.25” x 24.”

Installation shot: “From Energy, Matter Emerges 9.2.2020,” 84”w x 36”d x 57”h, and “The New Periodic Table 9.5.2020,” digital print on archival paper, 71.25” x 24.”

The eight sculptures, a single installation in fact, are small — about 6” high but on plinths that are part of the whole so each one is 14” x 14” x 57” high. They are imaginings of particle points, quarks, electrons and neutrons, the fundamental building blocks of nature, and are based on the “New Periodic Table” of the physicist David Tong. Collectively, the piece is entitled From Energy, Matter Emerges 9.2.2020, but each part has its own subtitle that corresponds to an entry on Tong’s New Periodic Table. The table itself is digitally printed in colored squares on paper behind the installation. The sculptures evoke Tong’s description of how all of the particle points are “fluid-​​like substances which are spread throughout the entire universe and ripple in strange and interesting ways.” These particle points are tiny, a millionth of billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a centimeter according to Holl’s essay. Therefore the sculptures, relative to the scale of the particles they represent, are gigantic – Holl says, “They are the most enormous art works an artist has ever created in the history of humankind!”

After the current exhibition, the gallery is hosting The Woodstock School of Art Instructors’ Exhibition with the artists’ reception on Thursday, November 12th, 5pm – 7pm. This show promises the diversity of style, technique, and subject matter that make up the instructor pool at the school. It runs through December 5; gallery hours for this show are Thursdays through Mondays 11am – 6pm.

The Lockwood Gallery, if you aren’t yet familiar with it, is a fairly new addition to the region; it opened just a year ago and is situated in a business complex on NY 28 near the Hickory BBQ & Smoke House restaurant. It shares space with its parent, Lockwood Architecture PLLC – full address and contact info below. 

A note on the Lockwood Gallery protocols for Covid-​​19: After a 2 month closure and virtual shows, the gallery has re-​​opened with outdoor receptions with reduced capacity and a door person to help limit the amount of visitors to six at any one time. Masks and Distancing are, of course, required at all times.

Featured image: Jim Holl, Particle Point Collision 6.10.20, Oil on Shikishi Kochi handmade paper. 9.5 x 10.5”

All images are courtesy of the artist.

Visits to the Jim Holl exhibition are by appointment; the booking calendar can be accessed via the website  THELOCKWOODGALLERY​.COM. A direct link to the booking calendar can also be found in the gallery’s Instagram bio.

Lockwood Gallery, 747 Route 28, Kingston, NY 12401
Tel: 845 – 532-​​4936

Claire Lambe

Claire Lambe

Claire Lambe is an Irish born painter whose works have been exhibited on both sides of the Atlantic. Locally, she has been included in shows at the Dorsky Museum of Art, SUNY New Paltz; The Muroff-​​Kotler Gallery, SUNY Ulster; and Cross Contemporary Art, Saugerties. She is also an instructor at the Woodstock School of Art. Claire is a graduate of the National College of Art and Design in Dublin and holds an MFA in painting from the City University of New York. Writing credits include contributing author to Teen Life in Europe (part of the Teen Life Around The World series), and articles and reviews for this publication. Claire Lambe’s artwork can be seen  HERE 





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