NORMAN — There is a gritty, even existential quality — as if every image were a struggle — to the monotypes and works on paper of Don Holladay in a show at the Performing Arts Studio. The Norman artist, who has a background in printmaking, said his “figurative and nonobjective” works were partly inspired by such 1950s painters as Nathan Oliviera, David Park and Elmer Bischoff.
There is something mummylike about a “Soldier's Bride,” looking back at us over one shoulder, her roughly outlined body made out of scumbled, off-white brush strokes or marks, in one work on paper.
A yellow-green, hooded robe or dress and pale legs, silhouetted against a dark background, helps to emphasize the vulnerability of a female figure, standing “At the Edge of the Forest” in an oil on paper. Even more dramatic are the outlines of a woman, holding her head with one raised arm, “In The Darkness” of the deep brown background, in a second striking oil on paper.
One can almost make out an angry-looking head, or some other scratched, multicolored object, emerging from the flat gray background of a printing ink image on paper that Holladay calls “Mad Victory.”
Monotypes are “Coexisting”
Even more obscure and enigmatic, but evocative, is the reddish figure of a “Sentry,” holding a vertical, spear-like object, in Holladay's dark brown, roughly worked composition of that title. In “Unity,” a block-like brown shape, could represent a building or a figure, while two screen-like shapes, standing side-by-side, appear to be “Coexisting” in a second monotype.