Holly Anderson uses painting to examine sensory experiences with light and landscape. Across her work, the bodies of bathers, flowers, swimming pools, beaches and rivers languish beneath an intense bright sunlight.
The obscuring flatness of this light, it’s glowing heat and squinting whiteness, pulls at a familiar sensory experience of Queensland landscape. Floaters in the eye dapple the picture’s surfaces, while shadows dig clefts in otherwise bleached terrain. In ‘Landing’, the artist's body appears in grasses on a hillside of Minjerribah, Stradbroke Island. Much of the surface of the painting is left open, the white paint beneath figuring not as empty space but as a bright white light that fills the frame. Leaves fall in and out of shadow, tilting between positive and negative space at the painting's edges. This spatial confusion reflects an existential turbulence Anderson experiences in this landscape. A body that seems so ephemerally described on the hillside presents too the possibility of its disintegration under a white hot sun.
By describing these sensuous optical experiences, Anderson attempts to communicate a more visceral understanding of the body within Queensland landscape, one that appeals to an abject fear of its own fragility, foreignness or wiggling edges. As this familiar Queensland light obscures and disintegrates her bathers, pools and flowers, the potential of this sunlight to burn, pleasure, alienate or maim hangs shimmering overhead.
Holly Anderson works with painting as a practice for investigating sensory experiences with light and landscape. In continual reference to the bathers and sunlit subjects of romantic Australian landscape painting, various ways the body might be more strangely involved in these landscape scenarios are tentatively explored. In 2017 she completed a BFA with Honours at the Queensland College of Art in Meanjin, Brisbane where she now holds a sessional teaching position. ‘The Oh No Sun’ at Outer Space in 2018 was the first solo presentation of her work. She has since exhibited across Australia at Innerspace Contemporary Art (Bikini Body, 2019), STABLE Art Space (Scroll, 2019), Museum of Brisbane (City in the Sun, 2021), Firstdraft (Circling the Sun, postponed to 2022) among others. In 2021 her work was installed in the Hutton Lane Lightboxes of Brisbane CBD as part of Sunny Side Up, a public art initiative. Her work is held in the collection of Museum of Brisbane.