Los Angeles

Tom Holland

Wilder Gallery

Bulging canvases by the San Francisco artist taste powerfully of “Dr. Strangelove.” Holland has learned to love the bomb, airplanes and automobiles—mechanical symbols of destruction and virility—all of which contrive to become candidly phallic. The earth, bombarded, supporting the speeding car, place of rest for the plane, is the feminine principle. He colors solemnly, using dark, frosting-thick impasto laid on in patterns of plowed fields so that even his technique becomes a metaphor for fecundity. Certain canvases are built out dimensionally; the hood of a convertible juts forth, pulpy palm leaves shade an erotic landscape, while other canvases are blasted victims of an explosion or ejaculation. The pictures are technically remarkable for their formal integration of relief elements and for the consistently fine control of impasto. Holland has had the sense to scale his statements monumentally so that the finest line is rendered as if with a blunt, lethal instrument.

Probably his imagery comments at two levels; first as a simple celebration of potent virility—a circumstance altogether refreshing amid the confused attenuation of most current interpretation—and secondly as epic Rabelaisian satire of the spiritual impotence that prompts misuse of power.

William Wilson