ART_Nick_main
The sculptures are ash wood — the framing covered with narrow strips that resemble the laths they used to nail to wall studs as a foundation for plaster before this method was supplanted by plasterboard. Sometimes his strips also resemble the furrows of farm fields. Hollibaugh carefully aligns or misaligns the strips to create vibrating rhythms. He does it all with the marvelous polished craftsmanship of studio furniture making, but also a bit of its homogenization. Which makes sense because he earned a master's in furniture design from RISD in 2003. (He had a studio in Providence, before setting up his current shop in Douglas, Massachusetts.) The results are fresh, elegant, Shaker simplicity. But his barns, crosses, and American flags also feel a bit like stereotypes, or Rorschach tests onto which we can project whatever feelings we have about rural America.

Perhaps the signature divide in America today is between big city America and small town, rural America. That's really what we're talking about when we talk about red versus blue America. We've long romanticized rural America as noble, pure, Christian, straight, white, and — in Sarah Palin's phrasing — "the real America." And we've demonized the melting pot urban centers where we live as messy, dirty, atheist (or Jewish or Moslem), gay, corrupt, and un-American. As Jon Stewart acidly joked: "I bet Bin Laden feels like a real asshole now" for attacking fake America. The point is, these archetypes call out for more complex exploration. To put it another way: if you're going to take on symbols with this much voodoo magic, simplicity isn't enough.

Read Greg Cook's blog at gregcookland.com/journal.

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Entertainment, Music, Sculpture,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY GREG COOK
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BEAUTY AND RUIN  |  July 30, 2014
    You’ve surely seen Providence painter Agustín Patiño’s work.
  •   EVOLVING PERSPECTIVES  |  July 23, 2014
    Somewhere around the 1950s, Florence Leif drastically changed her style.
  •   DOODLES, LIGHTS, AND DREAMS  |  July 16, 2014
    Gibson Prouty has found a muse — classic yellow pencils with pink erasers on the end.
  •   SEEING ANEW  |  July 09, 2014
    The aim of the RISD Museum’s eight newly renovated galleries for its permanent collection of fashion and Egyptian and Asian art seems to be “quiet contemplation.”
  •   BRIGHTNESS AND DARKNESS  |  June 25, 2014
    Constellations of mirror ball clouds dangle from the ceiling on pink cords at the center of the room and slowly rotate and sparkle. You’re invited to peer though weird, lumpy crystal-telescope-things.

 See all articles by: GREG COOK