Distant inspirations_1
“If you engage with life, you always come up with something that’s going to be [inspiring], even if it’s only for a short period of time,” said Hollenback (pictured).
By Shannon Hoyt —


A sabbatical can provide inspiration, purpose, a chance for professors to enhance their skills and develop their medium of choice.  


Associate Professor Tom Hollenback is showcasing his artwork in the Furlong Gallery, located in the Applied Arts. Distant Actions, his first individual show for the University of Wisconsin–Stout, is an exhibition of sculptural research from his sabbatical leave.


Washington, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona: a diverse set of locations capturing opportunity for Hollenback. Compelled to create and return to underdeveloped ideas, Hollenback fed off of inspiration.


“If you engage with life, you always come up with something that’s going to be [inspiring], even if it’s only for a very short period of time.”


As a result, Hollenback unveiled three sets of work. Modified prints, accretions and architectural forms echo his experience.


“I am able to focus on intensity, the materials of medium, media and concepts that drive me.”


His sabbatical gifted freedom to test the boundaries of his abilities. A large architectural structure takes up the first room of the Furlong. His idea was cultivated after studying the art of the land, specifically water channels and conduits.

Distant inspirations_2
Tom Hollenback fashioned intricate accretions (pictured) out of wood, cotton, gloss polymers and other materials.

“It is just explosive in what it does,” said Hollenback, referring to the violet colors reflecting off the structure.


Plexiglass lines the horizontal blocks of wood, which are layered with a radiant film. This causes a refraction of light onto the ceiling of the gallery.


In the next room, a rainbow of color illuminates the walls. Hollenback created over 100 accretions, each one unique, and each one expressive. He utilized wood, cotton, a mix of acrylic and gloss polymer and various other materials.


Spectators roamed the floor, discussing their own interpretations of each piece. Some perceived the accretions as human-like, while others looked at the structures as free flowing. UW–Stout student, Trever Foss, had his own opinions.


“If you take a step back and really look at it as a whole, yeah they’re all different, but yet they work together,” said Foss. “The way the colors move and blend, it’s something I can relate to.”

Distant Actions will run up until April 8.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *