In previous work, artist Holton Rower continuously pours a liquid-based paint onto a stepped square protruding from a plywood structure. The paint–sometimes mixed with reflective or opalescent elements to catch light–flows over the edges of the plywood, dripping onto the next structure below it. A new color is then poured from the top, pushing the original pool further away. Another new colored paint is introduced. And another. And another–up to 50 gallons in all. The layers are affected by gravity, directing the design of each piece.
Born and raised in New York, Rower currently works out of a studio in lower Manhattan, experimenting with a great range of new techniques and media. In the early 2000s, Rower began developing his Pour Paintings, which he likens to sculptures. Both in small and large scale, his dynamic creations often resemble the shape of flattened four-leaf clovers and share similarities with tree rings. Each tier of colored paint, from layer to layer, holds so much detailed tension with the next it is hard to believe that the process is almost completely happenstance.
In Rower’s current body of work, Squirms, on view at the Hole Gallery until July 26, he makes a small creative departure from the original Pour Paintings. While some of the earlier pieces are filled with references to psychedelic compositions reminiscent of the 1960s, the new pieces seem like a snapshot of a digitally enhanced patterns constructed by the endless movement of a 21st century screensaver.
The Squirms are controlled pours on square wood panels presented like traditional paintings. Gone are the extended structures with centered designs created by gravitational force. Instead, Rower employs carefully poured paint whose worm-like movement and form are dictated by the grain and shape of the wood and the thickness of the paint itself. The designs seem minimal compared to Pour Paintings, with highly visible exposed plywood surrounding the pooled rings of chosen color. The comparative simplicity, however, allows the mind to wander further still, creep along to the edges of itself via Rower’s contained exploration.
PSQUIRMOUR June 9 – July 26, 2015
The Hole Gallery: 312 Bowery, New York, NY 10012
Open Wednesday through Sunday, 12 p.m. – 7 p.m