A photo of a woman standing in between two geometric paintings.
The Anderson presents alum Loie Hollowell’s “Drawing as Urtext” this fall. Here, the artist poses with a few of her paintings. (Courtesy photo)

VCUarts alum Loie Hollowell makes a triumphant return to campus

Solo exhibition at The Anderson this fall will offer a behind-the-scenes look at her paintings and her process.

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Loie Hollowell left Virginia Commonwealth University in 2012 with a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting. A decade later, she returns this fall as an acclaimed artist with a solo exhibition.

“Loie Hollowell: Drawing as Urtext,” which focuses on her drawing practice, runs from Aug. 22 to Oct. 18 at The Anderson, the on-campus gallery of the VCU School of the Arts. The exhibition, which is free to the public, is the first to solely explore the unique significance of Hollowell’s drawings, which are both “preparatory” — serving as the basis for future works — and fully realized standalone art.

“I am excited that this VCU exhibition will only exhibit drawings, which I hope will allow them the space to be considered as finished works in their own right,” said Hollowell, who is now based in New York City. “It does feel fitting to have this new opportunity take place in the setting where I last took courses and was thinking about my practice in such a different light … What is instructive, if anything, in this group of drawings is the vulnerability of showing the conception of an idea. The loosely defined form, color and mark making — all allow a behind-the-scenes view of my painting practice.”

Although Hollowell made preliminary sketches for paintings in her thesis exhibition while at VCU, she didn’t appreciate how essential the practice was until well after she graduated. Now, she said, she sees it as part of her process and body of work as a whole.

Since graduating from VCU, Hollowell has become known for her unmistakable works that touch on the figurative and abstract, spiritual and sexual, personal and universal.

The themes of the female body and sexuality that I explored in my thesis exhibition are the themes that I continue to turn to today,” Holloway said. “The figurative works that I was making in graduate school have expanded into an abstract world of body parts formed out of light, color and texture.” 

Represented by Pace Gallery since 2017, Holloway’s works are found in prominent public and private collections and exhibitions around the world. “Loie Hollowell: Drawing as Urtext” offers a special glimpse into Hollowell’s working process and reflects the legacy of VCUarts.