Things That Kill- Jim Holl


Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin
Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #50: Jim Holl (1)

1. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?
I have supported my art making over the years as a graphic designer. Currently I am the coordinator of the Graphic Design Concentration at Marymount Manhattan College in NYC.

2. When did you consider yourself an artist?
I understood to be an artist could be a career freshman at the University of Washington in an art class taught by Norman Lundin.

3. What are your influences?
In the early 70’s my main influences was the “west coast figurative school,” Diebenkorn et al.

The mid 70’s was the apogee of conceptual art.  This influence began with Duchamp.

4. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?
I have a summer and a winter studio in Catskill, New York and a summer studio in Manchester Washington, and  a storage shed to put it all in, all of them small.

My studio lighting is mixed, mainly tungsten.

5. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?
I wish I had more typical days, when I do I spend the mornings in Catskill, sitting in the screened-in porch working on the computer. In the afternoon I am across the field in the studio, and running errands. I dine early and am in bed by nine! In years past when in NYC I spent the day doing commercial design projects at an office in Manhattan and made artwork in my Williamsburg studio until the wee hours of the night. My music of preference is ambient. Reminds me of nature.

6. What is your preferred medium?  Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I prefer oil paint on board. I have experimented with many mediums over the years and found it wasn’t the mediums that made my art better. So I settled on a medium that does not call attention to itself.

I work on a few paintings at a time, going back and forth as they call me for attention.

7. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?
I go to art shows, dinner with friends, nothing unusual, I work all of the time. Life is short.

8. In what way is your work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill”? Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
I was wondering that myself when Norman asked me to be in the show. I have been working on a theme I call “All the Living Things.” I choose plants as the subject matter for their organic and many times simple forms. The images rendered close up can easily cross into abstraction. I think all paintings are still-lifes, lives that have been stilled. The organic forms I have been exploring enliven the compositions. This and the contrasting colors express a vibratory quality that complements the stillness of the paintings. In addition I prefer the work to express an ambiguity, for uncertainty is innate in nature.

All of this was crossing my mind while having lunch with Norman. Norman replied, “Why not poison plants?” I thought, what a great idea!