Coming from the Earth
Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX
Curated by Peter Doroshenko
Dallas Contemporary is pleased to present Coming from the Earth, an exhibition of celebrated Alabama-born artist Lonnie Holley. Holley’s critically admired art practice spans painting, drawing, assemblage sculpture, sandstone carvings, and performance that combines experimental music and poetry.
Holley made his first sculptures from carved sandstone before settling on his preferred material: found objects. Using steel scraps, plastic flowers or even abandoned buildings and decayed urban sites as a source for materials, he has maintained a prolific art practice over the years. After his inclusion in the benchmark exhibition Souls Grown Deep: African American Vernacular Art of the South, organized by William Arnett in 1996, Holley’s work began to attract attention beyond Alabama. He soon became one of the foremost artists of the Afro-Atlantic aesthetic that blossomed across the Southern United States.
Music forms an integral aspect of Holley's practice. Notably, both his art and music are improvisational, with no two artworks or compositions ever the same: his ever-evolving arrangements and lyrics morph with each concert and recording. While he has been making music most of his adult life, his career as a performing artist did not begin until he began professionally recording his music in 2006. Since then, Holley has toured the world with various musicians and has recorded five studio albums.
Holley's exhibition at Dallas Contemporary—the artist’s first in Texas—features a new body of ceramic works made specifically for the show that continue his long-standing interests and investigations. The presentation highlights Holley’s creative talent and fresh aesthetics born out of a history of toil, chaos, and an enduring curiosity.