Commissioned by the Folly Gallery, Lancaster 2004, the show consisted of a series of ‘Electro-Light’, and the video installation ‘The Almond Tree’ Part ii.
Series of 8 backlit transparent images made for the Folly Gallery Lancaster 2004
Held between glass, this series of Cibachrome transparencies are held away from the wall on simple brackets with a backlit by a simple light bulb held on the wall behind each one, the brackets throwing shadows across the wall of the gallery. The bare, almost medical presentation contrasts with the natural flowing forms found within the images.
Part of the process by which the images are created is projection; vintage projectors give a soft edged square of light, fading out to black. Glass slides and their various contents are projected and enlarged onto a semi transparent medium behind which objects are placed. This creates a layered effect and the possibility of playing with scale and incorporating drawing and painting into the composition. The resulting images take on a life of their own which defy their mundane origins but still retain overtones of analysis of specimens. The translucent globe becomes both ovule and sun and the usually unseen tiny pollen grains and seeds become falling hammers. These natural forms reflect their own nature; with associations of conductivity, fecundity and reproduction but are at the same time transformed into part of a larger story.
View images of Electro-light series and installation shots at Folly Gallery
The Almond Tree (part ii)
11 minute film commissioned by The Folly Gallery, Lancaster 2004
The video work is in part inspired by themes found in the story of The Almond Tree by the Brothers Grimm. The story is laden with archetypal metaphors exploring themes concerned with death and transformation. It tells of a tree that can grant wishes, one such wish gives rise to the long hoped for birth of a son. It absorbs bones and these are then transformed into a golden bird; themes which have re-occurred throughout history in both mythology and the bible. For more information on the story go to Grimms ‘The Almond Tree’.
This was Holland’s first video work and is a combination of moving images and her photographed studio set-ups. One image fades slowly into another; a vessel filled with red liquid becomes a sacred heart which then becomes coral and in turn fades into footage of an actual frozen heart, placed in the snow.
This exhibition evolved from the themes explored in previous shows such as ‘Vessel’ and ‘Magic, Murder and the Weather’ in which elements of biology and mythology are side by side. ‘The Almond Tree’ part ii explores aspects of the tree as an electrically charged medium – a conduit for metamorphosis and resurrection.
View images from The Almond Tree film
The Almond Tree (part i)
Commissioned by and shown at MAC, Birmingham 2003
The light box work ‘The Almond Tree’ was made for and shown at the Cotton Gallery at the MAC in Birmingham along with other works including ‘Magic, Murder and the Weather’ and ‘Eye of Heaven’ part i. The second part of this work ‘The Almond Tree part ii’ (video) was made in 2004;
These multi-layered photographic images are presented as back-lit Cibachrome transparencies. In the work, the use of the tree as the symbol of change and conduction is apparent. The Brothers Grimm story of The Almond Tree deals with the eternal quandaries of murder, rebirth and the unearthing and revenge of wrongdoing. Whilst paring an apple in her garden, a maiden cut her hand and the blood spilt on the white snow. ‘…’Ah,’ said the woman, sighing deeply, and looking down at the blood, ‘if only I could have a child with lips as red as blood, and skin as white as snow.’
The mother dies in childbirth and as in so many of these tales, the husband re-marries a woman who treats the boy badly out of jealousy and hatred. She asks him to pick an apple from a large chest, and while doing so, she drops the lid which chops off his head. Both the mother and then the son are buried under the almond tree. In the tale, the tree and its roots are life-giving; enabling the woman’s fertility, her blood acting as a magic conductor of life-giving energy. The conductive tree acts as a symbol of the cyclical nature of things, and natures continuing ability to absorb and transform.
View all 5 Almond Tree lightbox images