Patrick Holderfield

Drawings and Sculpture
January 8 – February 14, 2004

For his second solo exhibition, Seattle artist Patrick Holderfield created both sculpture and drawings inspired by the great Gericault painting “The Raft of the Medusa.” As in the past, his work investigates the ideas of containment and boundaries, the organic and the man-made, as well as structure and chaos. Holderfield sees the underlying themes explored in Gericault’s paintings relevant to current social and political events/issues.

Holderfield will transform the gallery exhibition space into a fusion of artistic manipulations meditating on such formal aspects as line, color, form, scale and materials. Drawing on the functional devices used in Gericault’s painting, Holderfield mixes these references with his own idiosyncratic West Coast style. The artist purposefully juxtaposes new and found materials to emphasize formal tension and to challenge the viewer’s relationship to the work. The installation consists of two large-scale opposing sculptures interspersed with drawings. Floating on one wall, a grouping of timbers is contained in a pure white rectangular form; projecting upward from the form a mast-like structure cobbled together from various materials leans onto the adjoining wall. In the corner opposite this work, a long sloping black tiled ramp hangs down from above. Hovering just below waist-level an ovoid form protrudes from underneath this dark slope. Made of recycled materials, the spherical shape evokes a satellite floating in the black abyss. The artist sees both sculptures as a symbol for the turbulent world we currently live in. The reference to a satellite not only explores issues of pushing beyond the boundaries of our world but also through the borders of others. A dialogue between these two large works questions the precarious balance between structure and chaos and how it underlies current society.

The drawings become a psychological maelstrom where images float in and out of the unconscious. Holderfield imbues these works on paper with this conceptual aspect by overlaying and conjoining shapes to create abstracted forms that disguise the original source. The resulting image evokes a dreamlike psychosis as forms merge into one another. Referencing not only his own work but also Gericault’s, they balance the elegance of line with the turmoil of fragmented layered forms.

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