That Art Gallery launches its brand new location in Bristol with Big Boys Don’t Cry, an exhibition by up-and-coming artist Dan Hollings.
Hollings was selected by Saatchi Art as one of 34 artists from Europe and America to invest in, less than a month after graduating from Falmouth University. He was also shortlisted for the 2018 MIDAS award, and has since exhibited at Newlyn Gallery in 2019 as part of Transition.
Big Boys Don’t Cry reflects on matters of identity and childhood, revealing a vulnerable, honest and intimate side of masculinity. A colourful contemplation on the past and the ways in which we relate to it, the works explore the poetics of loss and belonging.
Hollings’ paintings are bold and bright, in colour and in style. Using thick coats of oil paint, he creates richly textured and dynamic canvases made up by many layers, patterns and colours. The scenes are abstract, inhabited by curious figures and animals that convey a playful sense of youthfulness. Images, symbols and words are all combined to give life to spaces that are once external and internal. Where the use of deep blues and greens in particular evokes a sense of the natural world, scattered words and phrases reveal a more introspective and literal approach towards self-expression. Forms of personal dialect and snippets of overheard conversations, phrases such as ‘love me tomorrow’ and ‘the sky opens its mouth and spits on the floor’ are woven along with the images into a kind of patchwork that is at once painting and poetry.
Hollings explains, “Poetry is the stitching in the patchwork between still life and self-portraits, a way of taking the world, thoughts and experiences in and spitting them back out. It’s rough and grisly, but I hope there’s some honesty in that.”
Continually evolving, That Art Gallery is curated by Andy Phipps, exhibiting a selection of emerging and well-established artists. These include: Beau Stanton, Nettle Grellier, Pure Evil, Corinna Spencer, Stewart Geddes, Nettle Grellier, James Reka, Martin Cross, Lily Mixe, Joe Warrior-Walker, Angela Lizon, Simon Williams, Sickboy, Zoe Power, David Shillinglaw, Lucy Austin, Rosalind Robinson and Dan Rawlings.
Big Boys Don’t Cry runs at That Art Gallery from 27 March – 18 April