Loie Hollowell

November 29, 2015

Female sexuality is, more often than not, supposed to be quiet and tamed. Sexuality is supposed to be more private and hidden for women. Society sexualizes women’s bodies for men, and if any woman is overly sexual, she is automatically considered a slut. Not everyone appreciates the incredibly beautiful nature of the female human body. Loie Hollowell, a New York artist, is blossoming into a gallery exhibition with her oil on linen paintings. She is currently having her own exhibit in 106 Green, a gallery run by artists for artists. Her solo exhibit includes paintings revolving around the beautiful curves and parts of a woman’s body. Her paintings allude to other painters such as Georgia O’Keeffe, who painted gorgeous flowers and cityscapes. The fluidity in O’Keefe’s flowers is clearly an inspiration for the lines in Hollowell’s paintings. Hollowell is described to have created her own “lexicon of forms” where she is alluding to these previous artists but creating her own form in the process. Instead of outright painting a vagina (you know, since that would be so completely absurd) she painted abstract shapes that allude to the shape of a vagina. Her paintings focus on other parts too, such as a woman’s thighs and her breasts. Each painting has simplicity with plain convex and concave lines, along with simple colors that are vibrant but not overpowering. The contrast of warm and cool colors in her artwork beautifully sculpts each part she is trying to present. The colors allow for amazing definition so the viewer has the chance to explore the female body in a different light. Her color choice also creates a movement affect, like an illusion almost where the edges seem to be moving when not directly looking at the painting. Her art allows the body to be simplified and be in its purest form. This is unbelievably cool and such a beautiful portrayal of women’s bodies. Today all we see are photo-shopped stomachs and ways to tone our thighs. The beauty in these photos is that they can represent any woman regardless of size, ethnicity, or age. Her paintings explore the female body in a way that is applicable to every woman. Every woman, and even men, can appreciate how her art invokes great sexual energy and beauty. However, our society is such a paradox. Women are taught to not be too expressive or emotional, need to be skinny and let the husband be the breadwinner. Yet society also tells women that they should be proud to be who they are, empower themselves and other women, and if they are single then that’s fine too. This is extremely hypocritical. Women are beautiful and strong in every way possible and I think that Hollowell’s paintings accurately portray that. She paints in a way that is indirect, where we know what that picture is even though it doesn’t show the exact anatomical structure. But then it’s hard to not look at this as ridiculous. Why should artists have to almost censor their work because showing body parts like that would be deemed ridiculous? Why couldn’t she just paint a vagina and call it a day? Society is so hard on its people even when it’s trying to be supportive. Artists potentially have freedom since art is pretty much anything you create that expresses something, but are just that restrictive at the same time. If artists created a work that was too risqué, then it would be called inappropriate. Artists from previous decades painted nude women and it was beautiful. When did the standard of beauty get masked by society? Why is nudity such an inappropriate topic? Female sexuality is remarkably suppressed and stifled all because of the fear that women could overpower men. Women are not always allowed to express their sexualities but when they do, they can create such beautiful thinks like Hollowell’s paintings. People shouldn’t allow the pressure from society to become overbearing. I think that Hollowell beautifully created the female body on how it simply is, and not how society views it should look.

 

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