LOWBROW : River Holloway. 3-23 FEBRUARY, 2003

LOWBROW was shown at the High Street Project from the 4th –23rd of February 2004. Consisting of a large, room-sized crutch, Holloway’s sculpture promulgates against various themes and ideas of support. Both HSP’s role, as emerging artist “space” and Holloway’s own constant investigation of society’s labeling and catergorisation as a process that normalises and inhibits are perhaps the two central aspects this crutch plays off. However, the crutch itself, its load bearing capacity hints at something else. Laying on the floor, either pitched in despair, or idle and ready to go is more than speculative enough. This either-or ambiguity is again apparent in Holloway’s choice of just the one crutch, which either hints at a minor wound or a rehabilitation process that’s getting along fine. So with this low-cast forensics in mind, LOWBROW is quite a positive show. Both appreciative and generous, Holloway’s crutch also acts as support for the Gallery, bolstering our sense of pride and spirit as Christchurch’s leading artist-run-initiative devoted to emerging artists. That there are so many specific adjectives hiding in that label is however problematic, something Holloway’s crutch more than begins to bear upon.

Holloway’s initial proposal to HSP suggested the idea of a large scale and more overt reference to the ‘art’s long-standing association with drugs (especially alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes)’. To a large extent that reference is still there in the flyer and poster photograph of the spotting set-up. This again is continue over into the bottle shape “neck” of the crutch itself. And of course, again there are always references and connotations between ‘support’ ‘addictions’ and “mother’s little helpers’. This same process of addiction and support is also apparent in the perception of “Art” as a conceptual lever that pries open the cultural field we live in.