holton rower

Last week we went to the opening of an exhibition of artist Holton Rower’s paintings, made by pouring gallons of vividly colored paints onto plywood forms. They are on display at The Hole in NYC, an immense space that Rower’s monumental work fills with reverberating color and energy.

The paintings are made of humble materials: plywood and acrylic paint transformed by Rower’s imagination and daring. Some are so big that they could only be photographed by laying them in the alley behind Rower’s studio and photographing from 3 stories up. Tonight, we went to see him pour a painting and witness liquid color becoming form (as you can, on YouTube).

photo: sally schneider

The night of the opening, the Bowery was teeming with lifeforms displaying an amazing array of personal fashion. Conversations and introductions sparked everywhere in and out of the gallery…from Steven J. Bernstein to Blaise Cendrars (our head was spinning).

A man happened to have Cendrars’ novel Confessions of Dan Yack in his bag and read from it as we sat on a bench outside the gallery:

Why was it called the Pourquoi Pepita? I have often wondered. But there was a beautiful sign and inside, the bar was was splendid and I had such fun there. It was perhaps the happiest time of my life! That cats’ orchestra!

That cats’ orchestra!???  Then a friend introduced us to Rosaire Appel who makes unusual graphic novels “with no semantic reliability”; the words are known to vanish.

rosaire appel

We googled her the following day to discover the very improvisational nature of her work:

One morning I found a Sotheby’s catalogue from 1981 languishing on the curb, in the sun, abandoned. I picked it up – it’s the kind of used paper I use for brush practice. After filling the pages with ink gestures, I ripped it up, the scraps scattered on the floor. I thought they were dead but as I gathered them up they came back to life. “Taste’s Last Skrap” is the recatalogueing of the fragments of those used pages.

We went to the opening feeling kind of low, and came away from that evening elated at the convergence of so many varied ideas and people…at so much richness. We couldn’t help but think that Rower’s beautiful art had somehow catalyzed and ignited it all.

THAT’S what art can do.

Holton Rower painting
holton Rower

Plywood and acrylic paint…

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holton rower’s pour paintings: intention + chance, in color
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