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Tom Holland

Nicholas Wilder Gallery

Tom Holland’s group of shaped fiberglass paintings at Nicholas Wilder adds one more to the handful of remarkable one-man shows of local art seen here over the past year. Holland is an “important” painter only within limited and self-imposed terms, since he refuses to enter into any collective problem-solving esthetic syndrome. If his art has qualities of crudeness and perishability partly for their own sake, it is not because the artist is Making a Point about these things. What he does purvey in his semi-abstract uses of muddy, pied surfaces and flimsy shapes is that “formal elements” in painting can be abused, corrupted, even ignored—unaffectedly—and a new painterly “structure,” stripped of the familiar conveniences, emerges. The prime metaphor of Holland’s present works, in which surfaces are utterly brittle, derelict, inane—is of a kind of mortification of the flesh (of painting).

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