bureau inc

Tom Holmes
Painted Bones - some reliquaries
September 7 - October 23 2011

Reception for the artist:
Wednesday September 7, 6 - 8 p.m.


Image: Tom Holmes, untitled Program
(feathers red yellow green blk)
, 2011
acrylic ply, wire, feathers 12 x 24 in.



Bureau is proud to announce a solo show by Tom Holmes, Painted Bones - some reliquaries, featuring new large-scale sculptural work. The exhibition will run from September 7 through October 23 at 127 Henry Street, between Rutgers and Pike streets, in the Lower East Side.

Following his 2010 exhibition Silly Rabbit - a gravestone and an urn at Dispatch, Holmes presents several new large-scale pieces showing a continued interest in borrowing from funerary objects. Far less attached to the function of these objects than in his earlier work, these new sculptures are made from a mix of industrial materials and textiles including steel, cinder blocks and burlap. An arc describing a thin section of a cone, provides the formal anchor of the new works. This substrate, draped and bent, is adorned with hand-painted human bones.

While the work clearly shows a preoccupation with impending death and the fear of insignificance, it also refuses clear interpretation as memorial. Though the pieces are in fact grounded in the form of the reliquary – a decorative container that traditionally houses scraps of bone, cloth or debris belonging to a holy person, becoming a locus for the worship of the subject there enshrined – the works themselves reject instrumentalization or functionality. For Holmes the formal object and its component parts is primary, the holy subject subverted by his use of anonymous relics procured as he would any other material, be it a vintage textile or an oversized cereal box.

Holmes may work with a heavy hand for subject matter but he also has an exquisitely light touch and sensitivity for abstract form. His materials and compositions are deeply rooted in minimalism and abstraction, while the overall project is one of reclaiming popular motifs for their abstract component parts. Holmes proliferates throw away pop culture with the same rigor he applies to the consideration of abstraction, combining a matter-of-fact embrace of this ubiquitous cultural material with a focus on commemorative and funerary forms. That tension is where we find the potency of his work: a will to oscillate between extremes, from pop and profane to hallowed and transcendent.

Tom Holmes was born in 1975 in Ozona Texas. He received his BFA from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999 and his MFA from UCLA in 2002. His works have been widely exhibited in private galleries and public institutions such as the Whitney Museum at Altria, NY; the Malmö Konstmuseum, Malmö Sweden; Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland OR; Exile, Berlin; Dispatch, New York. In 2012 he will present a major solo show at the Kunsthalle Bern in Switzerland.

Gallery Hours: Wednesday - Sunday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Directions: F train to East Broadway