EVAN HOLLOWAY, PLANTS AND LAMPS (LOS ANGELES 2015)
Illustration : Evan HollowaySteel, cardboard, aqua-resin, epoxy resin, fiberglass, sandbags, CelluClay, and paint, 89 x 82 x 38 inches (installation variable). Photograph by Lee Thompson. Courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery.
PARADOX OF NEOLIBERALISM. LA resident Evan Holloway presents the charm of the palm as both alluring and fake. His Plants and Lamps (2015), a sculptural installation made out of steel, cardboard, resin, fiberglass and sandbags presented at David Kordansky in the spring of 2016, carried connotations of a distorted Californian ideology—the paradox of neoliberalism that begs for biodiversity and sustainability, yet feeds from an artificial, polluting light.
More (+) : The bizarre botanical history of palm trees in Los Angeles is hardly a secret. In 1931, an ornamental planting frenzy introduced more than 25,000 imported tropical trees to the Southern California landscape. Most of these alien species became ubiquitous almost overnight, and are now the region’s most cliché icons, instantly associated with good times, good weather, and vacation vibes. A palm tree is the ultimate in easy aesthetics: pretty, finely shaped, and exotic …/… The irresistible illusionism of LA’s palms has kept them in fashion for decades, with appearances in Art Deco posters, David Hockney’s paintings, to Kahlil Joseph’s film, Double Conscience (2014), presented at MOCA last year. For many artists who have lived, worked or passed through the city, the palm cliché inevitably finds a way into their work, ensuring preservation in the public subconscious. The more something is repeated, the safer it is to copy it. Ed Ruscha’s iconoclastic 1971 photo book, A Few Palm Trees, uprooted the urban palm once again, planting them into the contemporary art’s intellectual and visual discourse. His deadpan document of the varieties of trees found across the Los Angeles landscape, is, as Joan Didion put it in her catalog essay for his show at the 2005 Venice Biennale, a distillation: “the thing compressed to its most pure essence.” an-essay-on-los-angeles-cliche-and-palm-trees/