Tom Holmes

Part of This Complete Breakfast: objects for a wake

Exhibition from April 21st, 2012 to May 17th, 2012.

Galerie catherine Bastide is pleased to announce a solo show by Tom Holmes, Part of This Complete Breakfast: objects for a wake, showcasing new sculptural work and large-scale drawings. The exhibition will open to the public April 19th and run through May 17th. The artist will be present at the reception on April 20th.

In keeping with his last two solo shows in New York, Holmes presents several new large woks exhibiting a continued interest in the genre of funerary objects. Here the gallery is transformed, the space primed for a secularized ritual, in this case the ancient ritual of a wake. Far less attached to the primary function of the funerary object than in previous work, like a gravestone, urn or, shroud, these new works abstract from simple pop structures. Using folding chairs, chip bags, children's cereal boxes, and advertising signs for soda the ready made object becomes the
cultural armature, a structure on which the abstracted gesture hangs.

While the conceptual conceit of the exhibition shows an obvious preoccupation with death and the culture of memorial, the primary impetus of the work seems to be a much more abstract and psychological exploration of a “fear of insignificance.” The works themselves reject clear function and invite an interpretation of the formal object that relates directly to a haptic sense in the viewer’s own body. For Holmes the once holy object is transmuted and secularized to expose the dysfunctions of our shared cultural rituals around memorial, remembrance, history and hero worship.

Holmes may work with impossibly heavy themes of life and death but he also has an exquisitely light touch and sensitivity for abstract form. His material use and compositional decisions are deeply rooted in minimalism as well as his work with artist Richard Tuttle. While the overview of the project might seem to reclaim popular mundane motifs the abstract overlay to their component parts describes a larger cultural criticism processed through Abstraction as opposed to the Conceptual model of production. In the artist’s words “My art, despite my own pessimism, exuberantly celebrates a kind of grief released optimism, an optimism of the living, laying out a route, if an abstracted route, to the good-life. The work is in service to no given subject as we simultaneously owe everything to, yet are not indebted to, our dead.”

Tom Holmes received his MFA from UCLA in 2002. His works have been exhibited in public institutions such as the Whitney Museum at Altria, NYC; the Malmö Konstmuseum, Sweden; Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland OR; Exile, Berlin; Dispatch, New York. In 2013 he will present a major solo show at the Kunsthalle Bern in Switzerland.