New York

Keith Hollingworth

Keith Hollingworth has chosen to make private meanings the obvious content of his work. This connects him with Surrealism, but only fleetingly. His art is not intended to educate the viewer in preparation for a future which will reveal deep meaning, as with the traditional Surrealist program. On the contrary, his work is designed to subsist undeciphered in a world that denies change and, by implication, the work itself. Thus one sees echoes of Cornell’s hermeticism, Magritte’s codes, and Duchamp’s “machinery” in Hollingworth, but these echoes have no explanatory value. By employing feathers, chains, wheels, and simple wooden frameworks, he creates objects part trophy—part furniture with strong overtones of farm equipment. Their nonfunctionality in the ordinary world frees them to function as emblems of a static, assertively provincial dreamworld which can only be entered obliquely, through a delectation of their awkward proportions, the obsessional texture of their rows of feathers and their old-fashioned modes of fabrication. This delectation might for some viewers be rather forced, especially in the New York setting, but I think this is fully intended: Hollingworth insists above all on the distances (stylistic, emotional, historical) that his art maintains. This is his second appearance at the Paula Cooper Gallery. There is little change in his work, but the changes that have appeared, though minor, are not happy. They are summed up in the two yellow plastic pails which hang from cords in one of his wall pieces. The color, texture, and provenance of these objects all clash—they’re too bright, too smooth, and too familiar in the urban setting to support Honingworth’s stylistics. But he is too fully embedded in his sensibility for experiments of this kind to dislodge him from the course of a development which will prove, I think, to be a privately illuminated resistance to development.

Carter Ratcliff