Holton Rower


Holton Rower Biography

Cup by Cup: Holton Rower’s ‘Pour Paintings’

By Sofia Honekman


I probably use more paint than anyone in the history of art.  –      Holton Rower[1]

Long concerned with notions of accumulation and sequencing, Holton Rower’s ‘Pour’ paintings utilize dozens of gallons of paint, resulting in acidulous sedimentary layers of acrylic pigment. In a collaboration between the aleatory nature of chance and careful artistic control, Rower’s works are a mediated duplication of nature.

Choreographed to temporal perfection, the process of the ‘Pour’ paintings functions as equal parts performance and the precarious play between intent and outcome. Colors are carefully selected in a pre-determined order, but the ultimate composition is left to chance. Once the pouring begins, the choreography of pigment addition is a rather fast process of continuously feeding the painting the cups of paint it thirsts for. Eroding the hard-edge confines of Pop and Op Art, Rower’s canvases present a psychedelic version of sequential color fields. As seen in this video recording of the artist’s process,[2] Rower’s masterful timing for each pour attains a near mechanical rhythm that in turn, renders the malleability and uncertainty of the paint’s destination under his controlled gesture. Each color, representing a stratum of paint, records its own viscosity and becomes a trace of the object's formerly liquid history, reminiscent of starkly demarcated geological formations millions of years old with a synthetic and acid twist.

Insisting on the materiality of his practice, Rower considers himself a sculptor first and foremost, as the physicality of the process contributes to an exploration of the very limits of the paint’s materiality, and asks us – how far can the medium be pushed? Maneuvering the viscosity of the paint in a version of wet sculpting results in both hard edges between each hue, and portions where the resin stoppers have eroded the clearly defined boundaries of the paint’s limit, leaving colors to merge, blend and melt into one another. From this gluttonous accumulation of paint, a simulation of nature’s own geological formations ensues, leaving a solidification of Rower’s artificial sedimentary layers of paint. The work is then trimmed around the edges of the paint’s boundaries, rendering the ultimate composition to resemble a slice of a tree trunk or stone, whose compressed layers simulate years beyond our own lifespan. Holton Rower’s ‘Pour’ paintings are ultimately objects which generate and record their own history, simultaneously presenting their longevity for being much longer than it is.

Holton Rower (b. 1952) lives and works in N.Y. He is the grandson of Alexander Calder and is best known for his “pour paintings.” Equating the pourings with sculptures, Rower began production of this series in the early 2000s. He grew up surrounded by art and working in his father’s construction business, where he learned about the qualities of a range of materials. In his own studio, he experiments with many techniques and media, including sculpture, installation, and assemblage.

[1] Holton Rower, “Holton Rower at Volta 9 Basel 2012,” filmed 2013, Youtube video, 1:33. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckrlcHz6QLE&t=13s
[2] Holton Rower, “Quiet Lunch Magazine Presents Holton x Dior Pour Paintings,” filmed 2012, Youtube video, 7:33. https://youtu.be/oEwYMUaqX3Q




1962 Born, New York City, NY


2017 Pride of Place: The Making of Contemporary Art in New Orleans, New Orleans

Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA

Cutaways, Venus Over Los Angeles

2016 Almost Eudaimonia, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA

2014 Art in Action Exhibition, Louisiana Art & Science Museum, Baton Rouge, LA

Viscous Resin Extruding from the Trunk, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA

2013 Focus Paintings, Pour Paintings, The Hole, New York, NY

2012 Love Heals, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA Pour, Shizaru, London, England

The Hole, New York, NY

2010 Holton Rower: Scraps, John McWhinnie, New York, NY

2007 Galeria 6, Aarau, Switzerland

2001 Galeria Maeght, Barcelona, Spain

2000 Galeria Estudio Funetes, Madrid, Spain Jay Grimm Gallery, New York, NY

Cencebaugh Contemporary, New York, NY

1998 Galerie Maeght, Paris, France

1995 Kunsthaus Orlikon, Zurich, Switzerland Galerie 6, Aarau, Switzerland 1994 The

William Ubee Kind Gallery, New York, NY


2022 Art Miami, Sponder Gallery

New York Memory Center

2021 Art Miami, Arthur Roger Gallery

2019 Art Miami, Arthur Roger Gallery

2018 Art Miami, Arthur Roger Gallery

2017 Art LA Contemporary, The Hole

2016 Various Artists, Arthur Roger Gallery

2015 Art Miami, Arthur Roger Gallery

2013 Summer Reading, The Hole, New York, NY Tectonic, The Moving Museum, Dubai,

UAE 2012 BAD FOR YOU, Shizaru Gallery, London, England Portrait of a

Generation, The Hole, New York, NY

2012 Various Artists, Arthur Roger Gallery

2011 Soft Machines, The Pace Gallery, New York, NY


1997 Large Scale Prints, Galerie Maeght Print Shop, Paris France

1996 Church of Sculpture, monumental outdoor sculpture, Nashville, Tennessee


2018 My Modern Met, 7 Innovative Paintings Techniques That Don’t Require a

Paintbrush, November 15, 2018

2017 Cosmos Magazine, The Fluid Dynamics of Paint, September 24, 2017

ArtNet, See What Galleries Are Bringing to Art LA Contemporary, January 25,


Curbed Detroit, Hawkins Ferry House to host contemporary art gallery for

MOCAD, July 14, 2017

Juxtapoz, Holton Rower: Cutaways, January 5, 2017

WNGO ABC, NOMA’s newest exhibition features multi-media work from New

Orleans Artist, August 1, 2017

Curbed, He Spent Four Decades Collecting Art, Then Gave It All Away, July, 10,


2016 Artnet, Is Market Art + Design the ‘Brooklyn’ of Hamptons Art Fairs?, July 8, 2016

bestofneworleans.com Review: ALMOST EUDAIMONIA AND SISTER I’M A POET,”


Christie’s, Kathy Grayson: My space, January 5, 2016

Boooooom.com, Artists Spotlight: Holton Rower, February 2, 2016

2015 Nashville Scene, Snowed In? Watch Holton Rower Make Art While You Wait for

the Ice to Melt, February 17, 2015

2014 Catalogue, Holton Rower: Viscous Resin Extruding from The Trunk, Arthur

Roger Gallery

2012 New Orleans Art Review, Holton Rower: Pour Paintings, August 1, 2012

Phiadon.com, What rt does a rich 1—year-old popstar buy?, June 22, 2012

POUR, Shizaru Gallery, London, England

Catalogue, Holton Rower: Love Heals, Arthur Roger Gallery

Love Heals, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA

Pour Paintings, The Hole, New York, NY

2010 Rower, Holton. Scrap, JMc &GHB Editions, New York, NY

1999 Jaw Law, Poems by John Sweeney/ Etchings by Holton Rower, Arte Publisher,

Paris, France 1995 The Grey Catalogue, Kunsthaus Orlikon, Zurich, Switzerland

Rower, Holton. Non.

Catalogue, Galerie 6, Aarau, Switzerland

1994 The White Catalogue, The William Ubee Kind Gallery, New York, NY

1993 Threshold Foundation Annual Report

1991 Nettles, Flockophobic Press LTD.

1987 Threshold Foundation Annual Report