Press Release: Collected Stories

New artwork by Holly Harrison & Kristina McComb
December 19, 2018 – February 17, 2019
Opening Reception: January 4, 2019, 6-9 pm

“Flash,” Holly Harrison, Mixed media and found papers on wood panel. 30 x 30 in., 2018

Abigail Ogilvy Gallery is proud to present Collected Stories, a duo exhibition featuring new works by Holly Harrison and Kristina McComb. Both Harrison and McComb are drawn to the idea of creating a visual story that documents the passing of time. Holly Harrison is an artist, writer, and poet; appropriately, her artwork is comprised of multiple bands of imagery and collage, the layers work like stanzas of modern verse, with bits of meaning half-hidden underneath like symbolism and subtext. The work reads as a narrative when paired with Kristina McComb’s recent documentation of the Boston Athenaeum. Each photograph highlights the minute details of the books in the library, worn and weathered through age and use. Together, Harrison and McComb combine elements of past and present, embracing imperfections as means to tell a contemporary tale.

Holly Harrison’s Color Field series relates sections of color with elements of mixed media. This new series is a return to using stripes as structure In this new series, the bands of color are themselves the subject, contrasting with her previous work that was mostly image-based. A crucial element to Harrison’s work is the mixed media components, giving each artwork texture, depth and most importantly: an imbedded story. Often the layers include old shopping lists, vintage comics, book and magazine pages, printed papers, junk mail, her daughter’s early doodles, and pieces of her husband’s works on paper. These components are covered with a wash of paint, acting to join the disparate pieces and also to obscure their content.  What remains is an impression or hint, encouraging the viewer to look more closely. Harrison also questions the emptiness or fullness of each block of color, her draw to poetic forms leads Harrison to build her own organic shapes that push against an established boundary.

Kristina McComb’s photographs capture the hidden history of the books within the Boston Anthenaeum. As their artist in residence for the past year, her plan for this project was intentionally vague, allowing for the individuality of the books to catch her attention. As she worked, McComb deliberately did not interfere with how the books were positioned, only documenting exactly as she found them, the unedited truth of how they exist in the library. These striking photographs bring attention to the tears, folds, broken spines, and cobwebs that mottle their surface; celebrating their imperfections rather than shunning them. By freezing the books in their current state and giving them a new life through digital reproduction, she starts the cycle anew, letting the images age much like the books themselves have aged. McComb finds profoundness in the life lived by both the object and those who have interacted with it. Whether a single image or the series in its entirety, the work tells the story of a collection through intricate maps across the surface of the books.

“Boston Athenaeum 0008,” Kristina McComb, 2018, Photograph - framed, Ed. 1 of 10

Holly Harrison is a mixed-media artist living and working in Concord, MA. Harrison received her MA from City College of New York and her BA from Wesleyan University. Harrison’s work has been featured at galleries and museums throughout New England and New York such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Concord Art, and is held in private collections across the country and internationally. Harrison was selected for the 2018 and 2015 Artcetera Auction as well as the 2017 MassArt Auction. She was also the recipient of the 2014 Dick Blick Materials Award and the 2012 Attleboro Museum Certificate of Merit. 

Kristina McComb is an interdisciplinary artist from Western Massachusetts. She graduated with Distinction from Greenfield Community College, receiving her Associates of Science in Visual Art with a concentration in Photography. McComb also holds a BFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. Her work has been exhibited since 2014, most notably at the Brattleboro Museum and Arts Center in Brattleboro, VT, the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, and The Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston, MA. McComb has also exhibited in galleries across the country including Manifest Gallery, in Cincinnati, OH, and the Mark Arts in Wichita.

Collected Stories, Holly Harrison & Kristina McComb, Abigail Ogilvy Gallery

Defining the “Emerging Artist”

Since the recent opening of our gallery, we are often asked about the artists we will be featuring. Our response always includes the term, “emerging artists.” This leads to the million-dollar question: what does “emerging artist” mean? Ultimately, there is no exact or singular definition of an emerging artist, we can only define the term as it fits into the context of our gallery. 

According to Abigail Ogilvy, “the term emerging artist is interchangeable with the phrase 'new artist.' The work is not defined by the age of the creator, although we do call it 'young art' - meaning it is new to the contemporary landscape. These artists are passionate about their own body of work and have the freedom to define how they will make their mark in the art world. What is exciting about an emerging artist is that their work today may be very different in five years, ten years, but that is what makes the work emerging is that it is dynamic, constantly evolving, and always growing.” 

We asked a few of our artists to weigh in on the topic:

"Outside the Lines" by Katie Wild
Photo courtesy of Abigailogilvy.com 

Katie Wild, considers the act of emerging as transitional. “Emerging artists are typically classified as recent MFA graduates and resolute risk-takers (such as myself) who have snowballing potential but do not yet have a big museum on their Curriculum Vitae.” For Katie, it is the transformation from new artist to an established artist. She continues, “We are the voices of today screaming passionately to all who will listen in hopes of becoming the music of tomorrow.”

"Sway" by Holly Harrison
Photo Courtesy of Abigailogilvy.com

Holly Harrison proposes that all artists are emerging in various ways throughout their careers. “Making art can be such a solitary activity,” she says, “so in that sense the process of putting work out into the world is an emergence for every artist, whether they are fully established or just getting started.” 

"Untitled" by Elisa Adams Photo Courtesy of  Abigailogilvy.com

"Untitled" by Elisa Adams
Photo Courtesy of Abigailogilvy.com

Elisa Adams’ view of “emerging artist” has changed overtime. “The first thought I have, when I think of “emerging artist,” is one who creates later in life…but when considered more fully, it really means a space to create art, to grow concepts and to further develop skills.  “ Elisa has been sculpting 3D forms out of stone for eleven years. She still considers herself emerging as she develops new skills each day as her sculptures present new challenges.

Since there is no true definition for the term “emerging artist,” some artists choose not to use any labels when defining themselves or others. Sara Galkin prefers to strip down the labels created by the art market, “As a label I do not consider myself subject to a definition because I am just being me.” 

 

 

Wednesday, October 28, 2016: Lacy Tell