Cherry and Martin is proud to present the exhibition, Days and Nights, Lemons, new oil-on-linen paintings by Holly Coulis. This will be the artist’s fifth solo exhibition with the gallery.
In her most recent body of work, Holly Coulis uses bold color, line and shape to explore a traditional painting genre: still life. Still life painting as we know it today sprung up in Europe in the late 16th century. The still life genre allows the painter to use a depiction of an object in a defined space - an apple sitting on a table for example - as a means by which to examine the visual conventions of painting. At the same time, the intense focus of the artist on a select presentation of objects allows those objects to have a greater metaphorical meaning. In countries like Spain, France and Holland, many of the early still life paintings were vanitas images. They pointed the viewer to reflect on life, its mysteries and on what lies beyond.
Holly Coulis grew up in Northern Ontario in the 1970s. She remembers sitting in the backseat of a car and noticing that everything in her visual field was surrounded by lines. In Coulis's new paintings, dynamic lines separate the objects and the bright color fields around them. In a sense, the areas of her paintings come together like interlocking puzzle pieces. In the late 15th century, painters like Botticelli struggled with the question of how edges of objects should meet other objects, and how areas of color should come together. Botticelli used line, which tends to flatten the space; while Da Vinci allowed objects and color areas to blur together and create space in what is known as aerial perspective. Aerial perspective approximates the action of vision, fooling the eye into thinking it is seeing real space. Holly Coulis's paintings head in the opposite direction. Her works upend the illusion of painting-as-window. They disturb the tranquility of the picture plane with well-placed shape, line and a riot of color. She asks the viewer to challenge their eyes, the art object and the conventions of painterly vision.
In addition to her exhibitions at Cherry and Martin, Holly Coulis has had recent solo and group exhibitions at Klaus Von Nichtssagend Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; University of Georgia (Athens, GA); Sardine (Brooklyn, NY); Paramó, Guadalajara, Mexico; El Museo de los Pintores Oaxaqueños, Oaxaca, Mexico; and Galleria d'Art Moderna, Milan, Italy. Her work has been reviewed in Artforum, Art in America, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and other publications. Coulis lives and works in Athens, GA.