Gino Hollander began painting in 1960 at the time that a new medium - acrylic paint - was emerging and he was among the first to explore its possibilities. Viewing his work now, one becomes aware of the virtuosity of both the painter and his medium. There are canvasses with the subtle oriental feeling of dry brush done in India ink, there are thick built up swirls of garish color or soft transparent hues, paint shoveled on with a palette knife, drips and blobs and fine line drawings, as well a mixture of oil medium with the acrylic, sometimes all of these things on one five foot canvas. The end result is pure emotion. You hate it or you love it but it is difficult to remain neutral.
Hollander is an undisciplined painter. He withholds nothing of himself. He refuses to rein in his emotions or his appetites. If a canvas is vulgar it is because he was feeling vulgar when he painted it. He shows it anyway. He feels that any painting he has done is a part of him. He doesn't show just his party face. He strips himself naked for all to see. 'To know me is to know all of me".
Hollander paints for himself. He has no wish to engage in a dialogue with the viewer. It is for him to paint for the viewer to view, the two separate faces of any work of art; both allow a work to be. He refuses to title his paintings. He tells no stories. His people are purposely poised on the far edge of nothingness, faces left blank or at best enigmatic. His figures are abstracted and his abstracts disturbingly figurative. He'll paint through the day and on into the night, each canvas a different mood. From stark black and white to a splash of brilliant colors and on to a subtle moody sepia, then back to a black and white, gentle this time. He is a complex man and his canvasses reinforce this complexity in the very simplicity of their form and content.
The painter paints. He refuses to discuss his work or for that matter, art in general. To him "there's nothing verbal about a canvas. A painting is simply one way to express a feeling and feelings can only be made less if they are talked to death". Beginning and end of conversation. Hollander is a difficult man to interview. Like his paintings, he is tricky, hard to pin down. He'll talk with you for hours and it is only very late in the night that you are aware that he is interviewing you, finding out who you are and how you feel. He'll discuss any valid subject in the world. Except his paintings. The canvas has no meaning for him once it is finished. It is the push and pull, the emotional context of painting that captures him. From then on it is the province of the viewer alone. There is a dialogue of course, but a wordless one. A statement, a response; a question, an answer. If these exist they are mute. This is a dialogue of the heart or, perhaps, the soul.
Hollander's reaction to the garishness and violence of life today takes a unique form: his mood is often of softness and gentleness. He is an eternal romantic. Women exist in the world of his paintings. He sees the hopes and promise in the face of an adolescent standing on the threshold of maturity. There is no disillusion nor despair. Nor is their gaiety. There is only wanting and hope and perhaps more than a little questioning. He paints vast faceless groups the wandering figures intertwined in constant movement. Yet each figure is alone, separate, uninvolved, as in essence each of us must be. Even in his most violent seascapes one knows the slender fishing boat will make it safely back to port. Behind the sun-washed white wall of his country villages one senses a full teeming life, a place for one and all.