Hal Holoun: Revisiting the Sublime Landscape
January 13 – May 8, 2016
Renowned Nebraska artist Hal Holoun has been painting the local landscape since 1981. His latest solo show is a combination of “change of season” images and Nebraska’s “Bohemian Alps.” These are two reoccurring themes in Holoun’s career. The “spring thaw” and “dawn skies” as he calls them represent his favorite time of year. “It’s when you can smell the earth coming to life,” he says. Holoun credits the Czech blood in his veins for his attraction to the “Alps” of Nebraska. When Czechs settled the state, they found rolling hills similar to those in their homeland. They created small communities in areas around Wahoo, north of David City, and in Ord—where Holoun’s family is from.
Composition is primary to Hal. Holoun was trained in abstraction, so the hills, the sun and clouds, the proportion of ground to sky are all elements to create a pleasing composition. However, these sublime landscapes are not abstraction. He intentionally moved away from nonrepresentational painting and toward the landscape specifically because he wanted to interact more with the viewer. He hoped that the viewer would relate and connect to not only the pleasing arrangement of shape and color, but the subject as well.
As with his soft-spoken tone and kind manner, Holoun doesn’t seem to take enough credit for the paintings he creates. He said, there is always something there—something more to improve, explore, express. That’s way artists keep painting. It becomes a process.
“My paintings are based on landscape experiences, but aren’t necessarily “tied” to the physical light and form of any particular place. I’m more concerned with attempting to capture the core of the experience – abstracting or distilling light and form until some sort of balance occurs between the painting, and what inspired the painting,” said Holoun.