By Elizabeth Harry
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Hollis Gabriel’s intricate, meditative paintings call to mind prayer labyrinths – those circular paths you might find at a park or a church. A labyrinth is different from a maze because there’s only one path to follow; it winds around and around, folds back in on itself, and usually takes a lot longer to complete than it seems like it should. Like a labyrinth, Gabriel’s lines invite your eye to meander. Her tight brushwork unfolds into imaginative networks that seem as much like a circuit board as an aerial city-scape. She turns many of her original paintings into fabric patterns for wearable scarves and shawls. Her scarves and shawls are made here in Greensboro at Red Canary Studios. Come to the shop at GreenHill to see more of her work!

Hollis lives and works in Greensboro, NC. Learn more about Hollis Gabriel’s work below, in her own words:


Who are you and what do you do? Include a little about your background.
After teaching for twenty years I began making mobiles, taking on a small business started by my dad.  My mobiles, made of wire and painted vellum are beautiful, whimsical, constantly moving creations which play with light and shadow. They are made to order and showcase things found it nature or abstract designs. In 2015 my son Connor died and in my grief I started to paint. Making works which are colorful, intricate and time consuming helps me to heal as does wearing my art and seeing others wear my art!


What works do you most enjoying doing?

I love creating collages and then painting on them. It is fun to see what shows through and I love the idea that things are hidden underneath the colors.  I also think the images and text I hide influence the shapes and colors I use. I love creating on canvas but it is terrific fun to see how my work replicates on fabric!!


Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?

I am fortunate to have many opportunities to travel.  I am consciously and unconsciously inspired by the myriad of things I experience and see. In addition I am inspired by famous artists like Friedensreich Hundertvasser, Gustav Klimt, Henri Matisse.

What is your dream project?

I would love to combine my fabric art with my mobile making and create large pieces for spaces like hospitals, mental health centers, hospice and other places where people come for healing. I enjoy working in collaboration with Anne Schroth who owns The Red Canary and prints many of my scarves.


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Let go of fear.  Just do it!