Van Holmgren’s ”Feats of Strength”, Thee EYE
March 11, 2012
Van Holmgren is a machine of art makin. This month, he fills both Mars Café and Thee EYE in the East Village with his signature stenciled graphics on scrap wood. In volume, he delivers visual appeasement for the masses of Des Moines. From skulls to pretty lady faces, the stenciled imagery pops with instantly gratifying color. The classic hues of sky blue, fire engine red and sunny yellow tickles my kiddie bone.
Feats of Strength at Thee EYE toys with boyhood fascinations of wild animals, cowboys and indians, hot chicks and visions of achieving the American Dream. Van’s new piece, “land taken,” teases us with sculptural tendencies. Several red arrows pierce a stark and colorless American flag. From the punctured wood, graphic teardrops drip down and reappear throughout Van’s work.
Upon entering the gallery, I am drawn in by the double gaze of a blue panther. His four eyes are wild, yellow and hungry. The threat of danger is mocked by the cutesy embellishments of cream asterisk flakes and a red run off word “mon”. They technically balance the composition, but distract from a strikingly gorgeous moment. A few pieces over, we see a pegboard stained by ghostly shadows of missing workshop tools. This conceptual one liner is a personal favorite in the show.