KATHY HOLLETT on view at the Women's Art Association (23 Prince Arthur), Friday (April 6) to April 12, opening 2 to 5 pm Sunday (April 8). 416-778-8107. Rating: NNN
i love you. three simple wordspacked with a minefield of emotions.
Kathy Hollett launched into an artistic exploration of the many emotions collectively called love when she was faced with her mother's terminal illness two years ago. The resulting paintings reflect one woman's experience of love as mother and daughter, and as both a lover and someone who has grown to appreciate the love she feels for herself.
Hollett pays the bills as a commercial artist (her corporate identity is Bentwater), and one of the skills she's honed in this field is a chameleon-like facility at working in many styles. She's played with her range in the 24 pieces of the I Love You series, riffing off artistic sources as diverse as pop art star Robert Indiana and graffiti.
In some contexts this might be a liability, but the textual motif -- "I Love You" -- that recurs in each image acts as a unifying device, and, in fact, the stylistic differences reinforce Hollett's message of emotional range.
There are doses of bitterness and loss as well as up moments, but what really comes through is Hollett's wry humour, which is underlined with titles like I Love You Is That OK?
And her choice of colours is luscious. Even the rusty hue of the otherwise mournful I Love You In Fall reads as a ripe, warm orange. That warmth is everywhere. It's about love, after all.