It's a rainy Saturday afternoon and I head over to Launchpad Gallery on drippy Oak Street. I am curious about Theodore Holdt's small paintings. I have checked out the website but that doesn't prepare me for how small they are and how many of them there are. At 2"x 2"the paintings could fit comfortably on an ipod screen. I think of all the cell phone advertising I have seen the last few months trying to convince me that watching a movie or TV on a cell phone screen is a really dynamic, maybe even life changing activity. Small is in. Here are these 1000 paintings before me like a storyboard of chaos and color. It's time to get small! Think small!
As I gaze upon the thousand tiny paintings, my first feeling is relief. I realize that I feel pressure sometimes looking at an artwork that is of heroic dimensions. If I don't like it, I am dismissing something that the artist is presentingas major or important. With Holdt's tiny works, it was easy not to like some of them. How could I like each one, there are 1,000 after all. It is easy to like them as well. The show makes me want to hunt down a particular painting and get intimate with it.
There is a lot to enjoy in this Launchpad show. The paintings can be appreciated as one large work with a thousand parts as well as individually. When one particular piece catches the eye, you see it is a whole painting; a composition, a world unto itself. Motifs, themes, ironies and styles repeat with variations as I take in the paintings. Collage elements jump out. In the wide range of our scattered thoughts we also just repeat ourselves over and over, don't we. Holdt, who has titled the show I Am Hunting You Are Hunted, in his attempt to create beauty and meaning out of the endless stream of thoughts and perceptions unveils a bit of the mystery and weirdness of being human.