LAUNCH LA is proud to present, Supermodern a new exhibition by Hollis Cooper. Hollis’ latest works are grounded in the tenets of Supermodernism, specifically the concept of ‘non-places’: virtually generated environments as well as dispassionate and utilitarian urban spaces like airports, parking garages, supermarkets. Challenging common perceptions of these places as sterile and blank environments, Hollis’ works seems to bud and grow – bursting onto the white walls of the gallery with lucid color, form and motion.
‘Non-places’ are designed to be neutral and uniform; zones of transit and pure function, rather than places possessing a distinct identity, history or core aesthetic. Their destiny, it seems, is to serve as mute envelopes for some focal point or points within. For Hollis however, these ‘non-places’ are “loci of infinite possibility”, places that can be transformed and directly enlivened by art. Through her large scale installations, the banality of such spaces is negated, transmuted into valuable negative space – an optimal counterpoint to the artefacts of her vivid and stimulating imaginings.
Her process begins with intricate digital depictions of theoretical architecture, drawing on everything from physical ‘non-places’ to videogame environments and 3D chat-room renderings. She work these vectors over, pulls them apart and creates overlapping layers to achieve complex amalgamations of hundreds of varicoloured modular shapes. The epicentre of these works varies, ranging from mixed-media on panel pieces to video-monitors displaying animated, pulsing segments of her digital mosaics. These animated segments interface with the larger installations around them, setting each miniscule modular fragment to motion in a shifting dance of perspective and form – ever approaching and yet evading the likeness of familiar places and objects. Speaking about her process, Hollis explains: “I intend for these works to have both a machine and human aesthetic, becoming a cyborg creation of sorts that is not just a formal exploration of spatial concepts, but the organic progeny of them – an evolution of form, responding to the computer, myself, and its surroundings.”
Much of the synergy inherent in her works seems to originate in the installations that surround and transcend these center-pieces: branching out like arteries or ravenous ivy they transgress into the white-walled sphere of neutrality beyond. These jagged constructions of Arcylic on PVC mimic the grain of the centrepieces and yet are transformed into something wholly different by the room beyond – growing somehow starker, more dynamic and graceful.
In a sudden shift of perspective, her works activate the space around them, drawing the viewer outwards to consider the room beyond, as well as the space they occupy within it – like passive cinema-goers sucked without warning into the narrative unfolding on screen.
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Born in 1976 in Jackson, Mississippi, Hollis Cooper grew up in New Orleans and Houston before moving to New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and finally, California. She received her undergraduate degree with high honors from Princeton University, a Post-Baccalaureate certificate from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and an M.F.A. from Claremont Graduate University. She received a Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant Award nomination from the CGU Art Department in 2006, and in 2007 was selected for the Drawing Center’s Viewing Program in NYC.
Her work has been featured/reviewed in publications such as New American Paintings, Art Papers, and Alarm Magazine, and has been included in gallery and museum shows throughout the United States. In addition to her studio work, Hollis sits on the Board of Directors for the Foundation for Art Resources, a non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting non-commercially viable art and artists.
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My current practice is grounded in tenets of Supermodernism: specifically, ideas of “non-place.” My source material comes from digital drawings of theoretical architecture: 3D chatroom renderings, video game environments, and physical “non-places” such as airports and train stations. Rather than looking at “non-places” as transitory spaces lacking content or meaning, I regard them as loci of infinite possibility.
Through the digitization process, I detach these source drawings from a fixed state and focus on their mutability and evolution. I consider these drawings to be a language in and of themselves, a foundational element used universally throughout my work, and I exploit the flexibility of their original vector format to make them function at extreme scales and in multiple media. The installations perform at the largest scale; assembled modularly in situ, they respond to the architectural environment in which they exist, activating the space in a way that negates the “non-place-ness” of the museum’s white walls, even if only for the length of the exhibition. The animations, in their constant state of flux, reference the transitory nature of the original sources, and operate on the viewer in a decidedly different manner, as they become worlds unto themselves, pulling the viewer out of the moment, for a moment.
Throughout my work is a sense of fracturing, motion, and reformation in the way the installations are layered and painted, as well as in the controlled chaos of the animation. This cycle also occurs in the studio, as I remix iterations of form as each piece is constructed. Thus, these works that began as a cataloging of non-place are imparted meaning through the rhythmic (re)inscription of their own history. For all aspects of the work, whether physical or virtual, there is a sense of responsiveness, of negotiation, of push-and-pull. I intend for these works to have both a machine and human aesthetic, becoming a cyborg creation of sorts that is not just a formal exploration of spatial concepts, but the organic progeny of them – an evolution of form, responding to the computer, myself, and its surroundings.