Loie Hollowell’s first-ever NFT project, titled Contractions, comprises 280 unique, generative works that center on the artist’s embodied experiences with childbirth. Based on Hollowell’s Split Orb sculptural paintings, which she began creating following the birth of her second child, the Contractions NFTs feature two bifurcated orbs situated one on top of the other, with the top orb representing the artist’s brain and the lower orb signifying her pregnant belly and cervix. This new series brings Hollowell’s explorations of bodily landscapes—with a particular focus on sex, pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood—to the digital realm. Contractions will be presented on Pace Gallery’s booth at West Bund Art & Design in Shanghai from November 10 to 13. As an extension of the project, Hollowell will create several new paintings of Contractions NFTs.
Hollowell, who has developed a distinctive iconography of geometric and organic forms as part of her painting and drawing practices, was the subject of a major solo exhibition at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai in 2021, and her solo show Loie Hollowell: Tick Tock Belly Clock continues through May 8, 2023 at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at the University of California, Davis. Her work can be found in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; the Long Museum, Shanghai; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and other international institutions.
There will be 11 scenes in the Contractions NFT series: closed orbs signifying the final stage of pregnancy, just before childbirth, and orbs featuring one of ten set degrees of openings at their centers, representing each of the ten centimeters of cervix dilation required to begin the second “pushing” stage of labor. With variations in their hues, saturations, and textures, the orbs reflect, on a conceptual level, the artist’s shifting state of mind and body during childbirth, with each of the colors describing her ranging emotional states.
The total NFTs in the Contractions series reflects the average number of days in a full-term pregnancy. The colors of these NFTs are drawn from a wide spectrum, from grayscale—which Hollowell has never previously incorporated in her work—to a vivid neon palette. The expansive possibilities of color in the NFTs situate Hollowell’s abstractions in a new light, influencing her approach to painting and drawing.