Galerie Deux Poissons is delighted to present “Overworld”, our first exhibition at the gallery of the work of Jim Holyoak, Matt Shane, and of the well-known collaboration between the two. Unlike many collaborative teams in contemporary art, Holyoak and Shane are equally as committed to individual practice as to working in common – effectively as artists they constitute a three-in-two combination of unique bodies of strong work. Most of the artwork that Holyoak and Shane do together and separately is on paper – from the very small to the enormous in scale – and while related to painting, can be best viewed as covering a broad territory of drawing practice. They are individually and collectively masters of deploying drawing as a multivalent force within contemporary art. Their work involves a layered visionary process of the imagination, which in all three cases is nonetheless highly rigorous in sourcing and researching, practice and refinement of the results. “Overworld” is both the title of this exhibition, as well as a searching metaphor for what these artists do and depict.
Jim Holyoak’s individual work is currently focused on the depiction of animistic landscapes and their denizens, combining plein air observation with imaginative spiritual invention and interpretation. The trope of peripatetic wandering plays a huge role in his visual choices and style, both literally in terms of how and where the artist goes in order to make work, as well as more conceptually, in the sense that he depicts a cosmos in motion, tracking forwards and backwards in time, the deep time of geological events rather than the anthropomorphic time of human beings.
Matt Shane’s recent work is done after Google Earth images searched online, but not randomly. In each case the place depicted in these drawings is one known well to Shane, and he depicts his subjects with a holistic blend of careful detachment and intense personal interest and attachment. From a distance the work looks to have much in common with photography, and possesses the skill to deserve the term “photorealistic”; but closer up the mark-making is not only surprisingly abstract, but also surprisingly simple and beautiful in its carefully finessed touch.
In tandem Holyoak and Shane’s work makes use of and shares, with tremendous openness and generosity towards each other’s visions, a fully interactive interplay of their entire skill sets and ideas. Their collaborative work offers a wonderful view into what it is to have no boundary with respect to engaging with another person’s creativity. While their individual works are as interesting and well-done, what they make together has a particular uniqueness that the work of one person could not achieve.