Loie Hollowell’s New Move From Abstraction to Realism Is Not a One-Way Journey

In the spring of 2020, Loie Hollowell gave birth, at home, in water, to her second child. The experience put the 40-year-old, California-born painter in touch with her body like never before and left her reconsidering the veil of abstraction that had, to that point, blurred the female forms depicted in her work.

Maybe “reconsidering” is too passive a word. “I wanted to make my paintings pregnant. I wanted to impregnate this masculine rectangle with full engorged breasts and pregnant bellies as a mothering act,” Hollowell recalled while munching—a little ironically—on a handful of nuts. She was sitting shoeless on a corner couch in her Queens, New York studio. The space is deceptively large and labyrinthian, but cozy—warmed in all sorts of little ways by hints of home life that have snuck in. An after-school project by one of Hollowell’s two kids is splayed out nearby; so is Felix, a rescue cat who purrs and preens as if under the impression that this journalist was there to interview him.

Featured image: Loie Hollowell, Standing in yellow, pink and blue (2019). Photo: Melissa Goodwin and Robyn Caspare. of Courtesy Pace Gallery.

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