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Lonnie Holley

Do We Think Too Much? I Don’t Think We Can Ever Stop

4 February — 28 March 2004

This was the first exhibition by African-American self-taught artist Lonnie Holley outside of America. It included sculpture, painting and assemblage from the past twenty-five years.

Holley is known for his sprawling self-made environment in Harpersville, Birmingham, Alabama. Littered with the rusting carcasses of vans, consumer debris and salvage industrial ephemera, his evolving sculptures and installations, weathered by the elements, worked and re-worked, are bodies of twisted wire, industrial sandstone and found objects.
His use of redundant consumer and industrial products signifies a collision between the natural and the manmade, between industry and the environment, progress and conservation, conflicts that Holley has sought tirelessly to reconcile since his emergence as an artist. Influenced by imagery drawn from both American and African indigenous traditions, the sculptures incorporate motifs that can be found in many of Holley’s paintings and works on paper. Largely painted in acrylic and on various scales, these artworks echo Holley’s creative approach, working and re-working the surface, fusing bold abstraction with playful figuration.

Organised in collaboration with the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama, this exhibition was supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.