Sun Shift

COOPER COLE is pleased to present Sun Shift, an exhibition of the work of Holly Coulis. This is the artist’s second solo exhibition at the gallery.

Coulis works within the constraints of still life. The artist is interested in the accessibility and intimacy inherent in still life painting, and how these characteristics have paradoxically contributed to its reputation as a banal artistic subject. As such, Coulis does not see still life as restrictive. Rather, she sees it as a dimensional genre full of painterly and representational potentials that reflect on a quiet shared experience.

In this series of new works, Coulis’ still life works move away from immediate recognizability to more abstracted fields and geometric forms. Her paintings sit at the precarious—and often contested—line between painting as representation and painting as object. To draw attention to this, the artist has abandoned strong outlines in favour of distinctive dry-brushed, dissolving lines that make evident the manner of paint application. By contrast, flat planes of colour are brushed over, creating filmy and textured swathes that push these areas deeper into the picture.

In Coulis’ paintings, certain still life forms double as geometric shapes: cups as trapezoids; oranges as circles; and the repeated particularity of the shape of a lemon. Her intention with these works is to leave traces of still life visible, while engaging a game of colour, line, and shape, and maintaining an inherent interest in accessibility and broad relation. Within the space of the paintings, she oscillates between critical dialogues around painting and representation while providing spaces for play, hope, and surprise.

Holly Coulis (b. 1968, Toronto, Ontario, Canada) is an artist whose work investigates painterly space. Through her observations of everyday life, Coulis’ intuitive, yet calculated, visual language creates images that oscillate between symbols and abstraction. Coulis received her BFA from Ontario College of Art and Design and her MFA from School of the Museum of Fine Art. Her work was recently included in “North by Northeast: Contemporary Canadian Painting” at Kasmin Gallery (2021) and the Thailand Biennale at the Pimamthip Art Gallery (2021). She has exhibited international at museums and galleries such as Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles; Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, New York; Simon Lee London, UK; University of Georgia Athens, USA; Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta; Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston; El Museo de los Pintores Oaxaqueños, Oaxaca; Galleria d’Art Moderna, Milan; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park; and Leo Koenig New York, NY). Coulis’s work is included in the collections of the Blanton Museum of Art (Austin, TX); Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (Overland Park, KS); Rollins College (Orlando, FL). Her work has been reviewed in publications such as Artforum, Art in America, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Flaunt Magazine, Hyperallergic, and FT Magazine. Coulis lives and works in Athens, Georgia, USA.