Holly Harrison’s work presents a collection of mixed-media pieces that focus on the interplay between the organic shapes and fluidity of birds, and the geometry of repeated horizontal lines—painted, collaged and contained in imagery of human structures. Harrison began working with bird imagery about seven years ago, inspired by the poem, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” by Wallace Stevens. She began with a series of collages, each one dedicated to a different stanza of the poem. Since then, she continues to compose her collages with the essence of poetry in the rhythms and melody of her work.
A master’s degree in literature and creative writing, and many years spent as a professional writer, reveal themselves in the poetic sensibilities engrained in her Strata series. 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 words she uses to describe this work are reminiscent of how writers describe literature. “There’s a resonance that happens between each piece to create a whole experience,” she says. “I wanted to create a dialogue between all the different elements.”
Puloma Ghosh — Assistant Director, Abigail Ogilvy Gallery