“Review: Almost Eudaimonia and Sister I’m a Poet,” Gambit

Dimensional paintings and photomontages at Arthur Roger Gallery
By D. Eric Bookhardt via bestofneworleans.com

There is an old controversy in art and science regarding the way some mystics and schizophrenics see the world as a glowing network of interwoven patterns. Is it a nutty hallucination or were they on to something? Similar patterns in the work of schizo mystic genius artists such as Walter Anderson or Vincent Van Gogh also turn up in the work of psychedelic researchers as well as recent explorations of quantum physics and fractal geometry. Now Holton Rower’s Almost Eudaimonia series of rhapsodically painted and elaborately carved plywood panels feature another perspective sometimes described as “psychedelic topographic maps.” All are untitled. In one (pictured), ripplelike forms suggest multiple interwoven vortexes riling the surface of an opaque black river, reflecting dazzlingly refracted rainbow patterns. Or is it discarded motor oil rippling under a ceiling fan, reflecting a blacklight poster? Speculation is pointless. In the quantum world, as in ancient mysticism, everything is an interwoven part of everything else. A wall-size work evokes the kaleidoscopic patterning of a free-floating aurora borealis, or maybe the spiraling vortex of a multicolored universe birthing itself. Some feature X-shaped darkened patches that loom ominously over fiery cellular forms, causing them to seem furtive even as others vividly radiate striated bands of deeply luminous color, as if the God of Genesis had become a color-field artist while creating the mesas of New Mexico. It’s thoughtfully joyous stuff and a real evolution in the oeuvre of an artist who is the grandson of legendary mobile sculptor Alexander Calder. Photographer Tim Hailand was inspired by French impressionist painter Claude Monet — or, actually his estate — where he spent days staring at the wallpaper. His photos of charismatic men and celebrities like Dita Von Teese and Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra were printed directly on baroque wallpaper, resulting in dreamily delirious yet oddly convincing evocations of the nebulous realm where personal inner space resonates with the pop culture dreams of society at large.


[CORRECTION: Tim Hailand’s works are printed on patterned fabric, not wallpaper.]