Published October 29, 2015 - 5:05pm
Holly Carr creates a magical storybook for adults in her new solo exhibit of silk paintings, I Can’t Sleep When I’m Dreaming, at Secord Gallery, 6301 Quinpool Rd., Halifax, on just through Saturday.
Carr’s playfulness, vitality and wonderful use of colour and pattern make this new work, as always, a joy. She explores both fanciful and sinister imagery that puts viewers inside a fairy tale of their own creation. Everywhere, nature is abundant in flowers, twisting vegetation, insects and birds — lots of birds.
There are ravens holding their blue eggs in their beaks; tea cups, each in a different nature-based pattern, at a bird tea party interrupted by an owl; and animals in portraits as spirit guides.
New for this always adventuring artist is the addition of music and light to Red Riding Hood, facilitated by Ian McKay, who defines himself as “creative technician & possibilitist.” The viewer turns the key, a wolf suddenly appears as a silhouette howling at the moon and each panel turns on and off with sound and light as Red Riding Hood makes her journey with a chorus of skeletons playing instruments.
Carr also includes motion-activated raven sounds with her giant hanging Raven Man painting on silk.
Much of her latest imagery has to do with birds and eggs. In Dreamer, though, a woman rides a whale above Halifax Harbour with the Town Clock in the distance.
“The narratives throughout this collection are inspired by my dreams, fears, desires, and a fanciful interest in the esoteric,” says Carr, in an artist’s statement.
“The colourful endless running reel in my brain can at times be all-consuming, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Carr, who lives in the Annapolis Valley, recently performed with the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra at Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto and the Orchestre Symphonique de Laval. She is working on a book connected to her large installation A Light in the Forest, exhibited in the fall of 2013 at the Acadia University Art Gallery.
Also at Secord are four realist paintings by her husband, Alan Bateman, including a fire on the beach at Scotts Bay looking over to Cape Split and a non-Valley, Georgia O’Keeffe-style image of an animal skull on the wall next to a slightly open wooden door, all in the most subtle pale blues and greys.