From 02/15/2024 to 05/01/2024
Mexico City, Mexico

Karen Huber gallery presents artist Andrew Holmquist’s first solo exhibition in Mexico, Looking in all the wrong places.


Part of the secret of modern painting since at least Velázquez (and probably earlier, with Raphael’s Transfiguration), is that the gaze of the artist is made equal with that of the viewer, such that the viewer “adopts” the artist’s perspective when looking at a work of art, and, moreover, the subject itself— the place, figures, and objects depicted—responds to this gaze and appears “seen” by both artist and viewer. But seen in a manner that divulges their irreality and reveals them to be something other than what they are in everyday life. The plastic qualities of painting become ciphers in which the nature of change as such is expressed.


Looking in All the Wrong PLACES, Andrew Holmquist’s first solo exhibition in Mexico, presents a new body of work in which the Los Angeles-based painter reflects on three years of living in Berlin. The paintings are set in the middle of this period, circa 2017, just as the thought of leaving the city began to appeal to the artist. Scenes of an urban, cosmopolitan life—public parks, city streets, urinals, clubs, bars, and salons (classically modernist subjects, in the tradition of Lautrec, Manet, and Seurat)—are painted ambivalently, with a detached sense of attraction-repulsion. The separation of linework from coloring that Holmquist takes from his early training in animation is used to isolate the formal architecture of the image so that the brushwork is left free to meander across the image, like a kind of flâneur. His marks have a daydream quality to their sway, an imagined tactility that allows the eye to touch what it sees without consequence, as in the Berlin Toilet paintings where the reflection of strobing-colored lights on curving porcelain is carefully modeled in playful spurts that capture the movement of shadow and light across the face of the bowl, culminating in such a tenderly rendered drain that the whole toilet suddenly resembles the torso or ear of an absent lover.


There is as much alienation as freedom in Holmquist’s painting. The idyllic settings of Stefanou Beach and Sunset on the Berlin Canal belie an apprehension of the distance that separates consciousness from experience, the gulf that lies between our image of the world, our expectations of it, and what it, in fact, will offer. The montage effect of these paintings gives them a virtual character—the enjoyments they depict are removed from our sphere of action by the very dilation of time that allows us to consider them all at once. As products of memory, they seem to question both the direction and the finality of time’s progress, dwelling on paths not taken while at the same time basking in the open-endedness of an earlier present resurrected through form.


–Patrick Zapien.

Looking in all the wrong places. Exhibition by Andrew Holmquist.


Until May 2024.


Karen Huber. Bucareli 120, 2nd floor. Colonia Juárez / Centro. Cuauhtémoc 06600 Mexico City, Mexico.