The first time I saw Holly Lane’s work was in Forum Gallery in NYC. Her art was unusual, it was a combination of magnificent wood carving and delicate painting, which instantly drew me in. Upon closer examination, I saw that her work was not only beautifully executed, but it was enigmatic and meaningful. Her creations remind me of doors, that invite the viewer to examine a profound poetic world.
In Holly Lane’s work, the frame is just as important as the painting it showcases. She gives an insight to her thought process, in her artist statement:
“While pondering the nature of frames, I found some illuminated manuscripts in the University library, and saw how the borders visually commented on the text, sometimes even spoofing or commenting on the text. From this discovery I realized that a frame could be many things; it could be an informing context, an environment, a fanfare, a shelter, it could extent movement, it could be a conceptual or formal elaboration, it could embody ancillary ideas, it could be like a body that houses and expresses the mind, and many other permutations. From that point I began to create pieces that fused frame and painting, with some pieces having doors that open and close over paintings to suggest; contingency, time, potentiality, future, past, or cause and effect.”
I also learned that while having earned an MFA in painting, sculpturally Holly Lane is, mostly self-taught, acquiring her knowledge of carving by looking at art and reading good instruction books. It takes her a long time to complete one of her intricate works, she uses no assistants and states she “continues the practice of the solitary artist working in the studio.”
She is a gem of an artist and person, she told me a little bit about her background and it was fascinating:
Gentle Muse”, 2010 22 x 31 1/2 x 6 1/2″
Mixed Medium, Graphite on Mylar, carved wood
“I was born in Cleveland, Ohio the youngest of five children, my family moved to California when I was in grade school. After my parents divorced we lived on a shoestring. It took me an extended time to get a college education because I had to work many menial jobs to survive and pay for school. In graduate school I was able to get student loans so I could concentrate full time on art. It was wonderful. The menial work gave me a productive impetus and perspective on art making. For I realize that if I could work eight hours a day in a laundry room, or on an assembly line, or cleaning hotel rooms, doing work that was soulfully unrewarding then I could easily, joyfully, work eight hours a day and more art making – which is work that does not wear down a person’s soul, but is work that is deeply rewarding, work that feeds the artist and itself, and gathers strength over the years. A couple of months before graduating with a MFA in painting I send slides to galleries in San Francisco and to my utter surprise got 8 offers of representation. I had no idea how to chose which gallery would be the best so I chose the gallery that had a friendly dog laying under the dealer’s desk. During my first exhibit in San Francisco, Alice Bingham of Schmidt Bingham Gallery, NYC saw my work, bought a piece, and offered my work representation in NYC. I have been represented continuously in NYC since, I am grateful. Currently, my work is represented by Forum Gallery. “
Since many of her pieces encompass landscape paintings, I asked her to tell me about how nature influenced her work:
“While I see nature for itself, in the existential I-Thou relation, aesthetically and conceptually I see the external landscape as an internal landscape. As we indwell the land, the land indwells us – all its forms, colors, textures, light qualities feel metaphysical to me. I started out as a philosophy major, doing two years before I switched to art because I felt that art did what nature does, embodies physically the non-physical.”
Below is a piece that was exhibited in Holly’s solo exhibition “Fortuna’s First Assignment and Other Musings” at The Harold J. Miossi Gallery at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA, in March of this year.
Holly provided me with some marvelous insight about the story of this particular work of art:
“I was first introduced to Fortuna in Northern Renaissance Art History class, and have noted her arbitrary work in not only human enterprises in NYC and Silicon Valley but also in the animal world. Personifications and myths have long been a way to conceptualize and encapsulate large forces at work in the world. One of my interests is to explore via these framing concepts, hidden implications, sometimes with an affectionately humorous angle on human foibles. To me and to many fellow artists who weather the ups and downs of American Capitalism, Fortuna seems to be a relevant figure. Fortuna was the Roman goddess who controlled luck and chance – governing opportunity and destiny with seeming randomness. She was considered capricious, lavishing fortune and favor on some and disaster upon others. This is the youthful Fortuna on her first assignment. She waits out in a rocky plain prepared for applicants with stacks of golden crowns and keys that will open big doors. The two blue slanted side bars are the color of the zenith of the sky in the evening before stars appear…they represent the vast unknown that bracket the present moment.”
“Unfoldment”, 2015 28″ x 33 1/8″ x 6″
Mixed Medium: Acrylic, carved wood and graphite on Mylar
It is a wonderful privilege to see this remarkable artist’s work in person, this an amazing opportunity to do so.
Here is a link to her website: http://hollylaneart.com
Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her first one- woman exhibition took place in 2006 at the Butler Institute of American Art, followed by a solo at The Eleanor Ettinger Gallery in 2008. Her work is in the permanent collections of The Butler Institute of American Art, OH; The Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, NY; and many other important museums in the country.