Remembering Dennis Hollingsworth
About a Comment
By: Martin Mugar - Aug 25, 2023
"Nice piece, by the way. Text, peeking. Ground margins. Geometry tweaking." (comment from NY artist Dennis Hollingsworth)
Coinciding with the debut of my writings in 2013 on the topic of Zombie Formalism I noticed that the New York artist Dennis Hollingsworth commenced to follow my writings with the occasional but always intelligent comment. The first time he commented on my painting is in the above statement made last year. The image to which he attached these words is also the first painting in years that I am most unequivocally happy about. For Hollingsworth it is functioning on at least three levels. (Text,Ground and Geometry).
The obvious observations made by Boston critics about the gooey candy-colored sensuality is not predominant for him but rather the functionality of the spatial play. He gets it probably because we are both swimming in the same waters, sharing especially the same attitude about the mark.
Dennis is attracted to a gnarly irreducible shape that he achieves by cutting his own nibs for the pastry applicator at the expense of the whole. I fall back on store bought nibs letters using the Cyrillic alphabet squeezed out also with a pastry applicator. Our marks are volumetric. For me the volumetric was a commentary on a road not taken in painting where the sloppy confidence of the abex stroke had taken over the thought process of so much painting. My exuded marks evolved from simple drips, to the Cyrillic alphabet, to whole words. Dennis refers to this as the text of the painting. The irreducible for Dennis lies in the strangeness of the stroke; for me the letter and the word.
In June I visited his gallery in Paris Galerie Richard and asked to see some of his work. The director demurred saying they were still in crates having been recently moved due to the closing of the Galerie Richard in NYC and the packing was hard to unpack. Upon my return to the USA I sent Dennis an email telling him of my visit but did not hear back. Recently, I visited his website only to remark that he was being referred to in the past tense. Someone engaged a ChatGPT write his story as an artist. It had a bittersweet lilt to it. It was dated April 2023. Why the gallery director did not mention his passing is surprising although it may still have been so recent as to have been painful topic to pursue.
I have no idea what happened. I feel fortunate to have heard his opinions on the art world which were for the most part conservative in intent. He was commenting on Twitter on the ongoing struggle in Ukraine understanding the manipulation of the American Neo-Cons in perpetuating it. He had just started to take and interest in the notion of Monadology as it might apply to his work. Again, the irreducible
The strangeness of the web where people appear and disappear.