The Artists "Review" Artists Project was launched on June 30, 2008. Below is a "review" of Matt Hollis' work, last stand, written by Grant Dale. Matt provided a second view of last stand, as well as a brief response to Grant's "review."
Matt currently resides in Washington, D.C., and Grant lives in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
If you would like to participate in this project, please email me at jtkirkland [at] gmail [dot] com.
At first it seems that the only aspect of this work that makes it not just a wacky floral arrangement is the orange legs, three of them, its kind of insectoid. If it weren’t for the overwhelming rainbow of colour the form itself might be a little unsettling, a little menacing. Not that it isn't somewhat menacing, the pincer-like finish to the legs - no feet. But there is a definition of a calf muscle. And a hind leg shin thing. Suddenly I'm feeling a little saddened by this work. Like it’s some sort of over-effusive plea for mercy. After a few moments my mind has locked-on a deer form. There is that kind of arrested motion, proud stance of a deer as it lifts its head, tests the air for danger. Given the title I'm seeing it now as the precise moment the hunter pulls the trigger. The colour is an explosion. Suddenly I find myself trying to see the floral multiplicity as internal organs exploding.
I'm reminded of a character in a Princess Mononoke (Studio Ghibli anime) - the forest spirit, how it steps and flowers sprout and bloom and as its hoof leaves the ground they wilt and die. This deer spirit/creature in Princess Mononoke had a human face - there are many ways to construe eyes and features from the flowers in the head area of this work.
Back to the absurdity - this silliness I think is particularly set off by the fanfare of green leaves at the top like an ostentatious hat. Also, those two orange flowers that jut out from the sides, awkwardly symmetrical contrary to the asymmetrical rules of traditional flower arrangements. The attitude to decoration has that unplanned, arbitrary feel perhaps like decorative offerings piling up around some sort of effigy in some tribal cultural ceremony. It’s like a piñata. The overall aesthetic of this work is the kitsch decor of a suburban home - little woodland animal knickknacks covered in peeling flock felt stuff and overly hue-saturated plastic flowers collecting dust.
So I feel this work's kitsch, excessive, frivolous aesthetic creates an effective counterpoint to an unlikely gravitas. Something to do with our alienation from the natural world? Not to over-analyse it though, I'm sure in the flesh it is also simply an exciting abundance of colour.
By Matt Hollis
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