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

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 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.

Image of two metal folding chairs against a wall. One has a cinderblock wrapped in a BooBerry ® cereal box fixed with twisted wire with a light blue bone also wrapped inside the wire on top of the brick. The other chair has a stack of black and white newspapers.
Image of a close up of a grey metal folding chair against a wall. On top of the chair sits a cinderblock wrapped in the cardboard of a BooBerry® cereal box secured with twisted wire with a light blue bone also wrapped inside the wire on top of the brick.

untitled Reliquary, 2011, Cinder block, BooBerry(tm) cereal box, acrylic paint, human skull fragment, steel wire, aluminum wire, 17 × 7 1/2 × 3 3/4 in.

Image of a painted wood sculpture by Tom Holmes adorned with rainbow colored painted hand bones wired to a square of plywood which sits atop a bulletin shaped piece which leans on the wall.

untitled Reliquary, 2011, Plywood, burlap, acrylic paint, human bone, wire, tinsel, Bulletin Post, 72 × 26 3/4 in.

Image of a sculpture hanging from the wall with a bent metal structure which has a blotchy dyed image of the face of the booberry ghost character from the children's cereal box.

untitled Shroud, 2011, Galvanized steel, spray paint, silk-dye, cotton flour sack, nylon cord, 53 1/2 × 83 × 14 in.

Image of a plywood sculpture leaning on a window during daytime. The sculpture is a square piece of plywood with three smaller plywood rectangles affixed to it at top left, each of the three rectangles is painted with a thin black on white composition and has a single rib bone wired to it, painted red, black and green from left to right.

untitled Reliquary, 2011, Plywood, acrylic paint, ink, steel wire, 12 × 12 × 1/2 in.

Image of one leaf of newsprint with a color image of a plywood board with an ink dipped feather wired to it.