Apr 21, 2024

Emerson Dorsch

Ergo Argot: Moira Holohan

April 18, 2024 - June 8, 2024

Emerson Dorsch Gallery is pleased to announce Ergo Argot, an exhibition of new works by Moira Holohan.

Moira Holohan has engaged in video art for decades, and it is from this root that the Chroma Green of Green Screen became a central motif in her multimedia practice, as both a symbol and device.

Holohan’s method is to create a video and then intervene in every frame, creating processed flipbooks and animations which she can translate again into paintings and weavings. Collaging with Chroma Green, or leaving the Chroma Green visible, is part of the process. For the video called Headbanger (2023), she filmed herself in the act of head banging. The effect of the hair in motion, especially post-production, is that it becomes an arcing black stain across the screen. She likens this stain to both a ghostly trace and Helen Frankenthaler’s stain, and it is from this observation that she translated a still from the video into a weaving called Head Bang (2023). Her hair’s arc in the video recalls Loving Care (1993) a performance and video in which Janine Antoni mopped the gallery’s floor with her ponytail, having dipped it in paint. The loose figure-eight motion Antoni employed, taken from a mopping technique, became an indelible mark, one whose power, in repetition and marking (rather than cleaning) was claimed.

While it’s true that Holohan’s works often refer to abstract artists of the mid-twentieth century, like Frankenthaler, Willem De Kooning and Robert Motherwell, Holohan does this with humor. She identifies her processed still – a painting of a video still which she rendered as a weaving – as a singular head bang, an absurd mind-picture. Extracting a single frame from the counter cultural gesture makes it easier to riff on the term – from the alternately performative and collective act associated with rock and punk concerts to one of utter frustration (at least once a day I do feel like I am banging my head against the wall).

Punk style somehow merges with echoes of abstract Expressionism motifs in Holohan’s hands. Holohan grew up in New York City, and she calls herself a “weekend goth.” She frequented punk dance clubs in the East Village like the Pyramid, the Bank and Limelight. “It wasn’t about being serious goth for me, it was about the music, dressing up and the atmosphere.”

Punk movements and abstract expressionists both had their anti-establishment streaks. The abstract expressionists sought both to obliterate representation,to create an opening to represent the spirit. With a not-so-surprising parity with Parisian Situationists’ rebellious attitude, Punk movements were counter cultural spaces in which folks could work and scream out their struggles. (Recall that Marshall McClaren was a Situationist, and he and his wife Vivian Westwood literally created Punk style.) The artists of New York’s Abstract Expressionist movement used abstraction as a means to access a way to show that there was still human spirit.

About Emerson Dorsch

Emerson Dorsch is a contemporary art gallery with two complementary roles: to represent a core group of select South Florida-based artists, to host and represent excellent emerging and mid-career visiting artists. The gallery’s name reflects the partnership in art and life between the husband and wife team Brook Dorsch and Tyler Emerson-Dorsch. We believe in the joys of an artful life, of experiencing art close to the source. Through all the gallery’s activities, we foster art patronage and artistic community.

Brook Dorsch founded Dorsch Gallery in the early 1990s to exhibit Miami-based artists. Tyler Emerson-Dorsch joined the gallery in 2008 after earning a Masters from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. After almost 25 years, the gallery moved a second time to Little Haiti, a neighborhood northwest of downtown Miami.

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