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Art Review: Hadley Holliday at Solway Jones

September 18, 2009 | 10:00 am

Holliday Fools Paradise      If you’ve ever found yourself thinking, as I will admit that I have from time to time, that you would be quite content to reach the end of your life without ever laying eyes on another stripe painting — at least by anyone born after 1960 — then Hadley Holliday’s lovely exhibition at Solway Jones should come as a breath of fresh air: proof that there’s joy to be found yet in what has come to seem a dull and largely reactionary genre.

      It’s not that her stripe paintings — which constitute roughly half of the eleven 11 works on display — are especially radical. They’re large, for the most part (up to roughly 6-1/2 by 4-1/2 feet), and composed on unprimed canvases, to create the soft, saturated feel of a Helen Frankenthaler. In some the stripes swirl into knots, in others they arc like rainbows staked on top of one another. In some they form grids.

     Holliday is a graceful colorist, however, with trust in the simplicity of her forms to carry the nuance of her palette. (In addition to the stripes, the show includes a number of smaller squares — 30-by-30 inches — filled with free-form washes of color.) The tones are sweet without being saccharine, gentle without being timid or shallow: lavender, violet, salmon, sky blue, indigo, coral, rose and butter yellow, all grounded with shrewd accents of gray and black.

     Her application of the pigment is equally sensitive. Her strokes are loose, perhaps intuitive, without being lazy. Most of the canvases are scattered with drips and, in a peculiarly charming gesture, she generally guides the stripes around them. It results, altogether, in a sense of warmth and humanity that the stripe — among other classic motifs of abstraction — is often employed to deny.

--Holly Myers

Hadley Holliday, Solway Jones, 990 North N. Hill St., Suite 180, Los Angeles, (323) 223-0224, through Oct. 10. Closed Sunday and Monday.

Above: "Fools Paradise"  Photo credit: Solway Jones
 

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