At the Pomona College Museum’s Project Series 35, Evan Holloway casts himself as provocateur. The space, which is fairly small, approximately 20×25 feet, is papered with a pattern of small black dots on a white ground. About four inches off the wall, a black metal lattice perforated with small circular holes creates the negative image of the papered wall behind it.
The resulting effect is sure to disorient the viewer; undermines with your visual perception in an invasive and menacing manner. The installation convincingly sustains a clever comment on the James Turrell ganzfeld, End Around, which occupies an adjacent space in the Museum. Like Turrell’s work, Holloway’s installation destroys your dimensional referents and induces a freaky vertigo. Instead of Turrell’s soft snow blindness or epiphanic luminescence, Holloway gets inside your head with visual distortion; black interference patterns follow you as you walk through the space. The artist is not only taking on Turrell, he deliberately toys with our expectations for an uplifting experience: after walking down buffed concrete floors past the pristine ceramic models of Turrell skyspaces, Holloway puts your head in a vise. Holloway points out both his work and Turrell’s induce a calculated effect, and further, that sublime quality is subjective and, perhaps, irrelevant.
Analog Counterrevolution, a catalog of sorts, is available outside the installation. Printed in newspaper format, this publication includes an extensive email exchange between the artist and Bruce Hainley, a contributing editor for Artforum, addressing Holloway’s ambivalence toward Turrell’s work. The bulk of the newspaper—four full pages of black dots—is a way for you to bring Holloway’s art home. This democratic quality that fundamentally differs from Turrell’s ‘non-vicarious seeing’—a phrase which Turrell has consistently used to describe his work—is funny given Holloway’s professed aversion to populism, which he cites in his emails to Hainley. Newsprint, a cheap material with a short shelf life, makes it disposable. The news is obsolete as soon as you print it, and the informality of it rejects grandiose ideas. You can go to the fish market to find the catch of the day wrapped in yesterday’s news. This further sets Holloway’s ideas off from that of Turrell, who is building monuments to last. All of this suggests a built-in obsolescence to the discussion between Holloway and Hainley.
Evan Holloway and James Turrell Exhibits at the Pomona College Museum of Art, at the Montgomery Art Center, 333 N. College Way, Claremont, (909) 621-8283. For more information visit www.pomona.edu/museum/exhibitions. Both exhibits through May 17, 2008. Museum hours Tues.–Fri., 12PM–5PM; Sat.–Sun., 1PM–5PM. Closed Sunday.