June 20, 2010

Lonnie Holley at Jeff Bailey Gallery, Hudson, NY - Assemblages and Drawings

Lonnie Holley: Assemblages and Drawings
Jeff Bailey Gallery, Hudson, NY
June 24 – August 6, 2010

Jeff Bailey Gallery presents Lonnie Holley: Assemblages and Drawings. Lonnie Holley, a self-taught artist, is a sixty year old native Alabamian whose work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States. This is Lonnie Holley’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, and his first in New York in sixteen years.

Lonnie Holley’s unique combinations of found materials and everyday detritus result in mysterious and powerful objects. They reference spirituality, African American art forms and history, nature, and family relationships. Simultaneously, the visual impact of Holley’s work invites comparisons to the work of other contemporary artists, and therefore continues to break down the distinctions often made between self-taught artists and those with an art education background.

Lonnie Holley’s assemblages can be simple or complex in their composition. Along the Rails combines old wire, iron, wood, colored paper, cardboard, plastic and other materials.  Assembled with both delicacy and verve, its title suggests a journey, escape or hardship.  Molting Lonnie is composed of three parts: found concrete with a rebar that serves as the vertical support for a piece of molten iron. The top of the concrete base is splashed with red paint, dripping down the sides.  The materials and their deft organization evoke a raw and formal beauty, while the title of the work suggests impending growth, a recurring theme in Holley’s art.

Featured prominently in Lonnie Holley’s work is a facial profile, found in drawings, wire sculptures and carved sandstone pieces. Small or large, single or in layers, they typically have big eyes, open and expressive. In the drawing I in the Teacher’s Chair, profiles face left and right, while one large eye dominates the center. A kneeling figure cradles a child, watched from above. It is a family or community of sorts, observing and caring for one another.

These faces and figures function as characters in an ongoing story. Indeed, Lonnie Holley’s vivid descriptions of his art stress the interconnectedness of all people and things, both past and present.

Lonnie Holley was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and is the seventh of twenty-seven children. Against significant obstacles he has been a working artist for over thirty years. In Birmingham, he created a unique outdoor installation of his art on the acre of property where he lived, until a forced relocation seventeen years later. Lonnie Holley lives and works in Harpersville, Alabama.

Lonnie Holley’s work is included in numerous public collections: American Folk Art Museum, New York; Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Milwaukee Museum of Art, Wisconsin; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., among others.

The gallery would like to thank Larry Crenshaw for his assistance with the exhibition.

127 Warren Street, Hudson, NY 12534

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