Colorful and semi-fictional fabrications of interior spaces depicted in Erin Holly's new exhibition at JD Malat

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Colorful and semi-fictional fabrications of interior spaces depicted in Erin Holly's new exhibition at JD Malat
Installation view. Erin Holly: A Trans Arrangement of The Painted Space.

LONDON.- Embodied, scored, and arranged. These are the words British artist Erin Holly uses to describe the deeply personal artistic process behind her highly anticipated debut London exhibition, A Trans Arrangement of The Painted Space.

On view in Mayfair’s JD Malat Gallery since 16 November until 9 December, the exhibition unveils Holly’s new series of oil paintings depicting colourful and semi- fictional fabrications of interior spaces. Coinciding with Trans Awareness Week (13 – 19 November), the exhibition offers a critical exploration of interior environments, their connection with the politics of space and inclusion, contemporary social categorisations, and most pertinently, Holly’s journey with her identity and understanding of embodiment.

The series presents luminous and imaginary depictions of lounges, hallways, studies, and bathrooms – symbolic spaces that shed light on the contentious argument of accessibility for transgender, non-binary and intersex individuals. It's a dialogue that resonates with the urgent call for equal rights, making A Trans Arrangement of the Painted Space a testament to Holly's commitment to progress and change.

Inspired by DIY manuals and interior advertisements from the 1950s through to the present day, Holly’s paintings function as restructurings of space. As Holly states: I am deeply involved with the process of unlearning and undoing, remaking and rebuilding as a way to find spaciousness in my practice and work.

Existing outside of reality, these radiant paintings hold an emotive potency, as well as subversive possibilities to the eyes that view them, asking viewers to interrogate new ways of seeing and understanding their surrounding space. Holly sees this restructuring of space as akin to a musical arrangement, where the source material is
‘rearranged’ from its original form into something new that holds and gives space to the viewer.

The exhibition marks a significant milestone in Holly’s artistic portfolio. Having graduated from the City and Guilds School of Art in London, Holly’s practice has shifted from public large-scale murals spanning North and South America, Europe and Australia, to navigating the confines of the gallery space. This artistic identity is deeply intertwined with Holly’s work, as she manipulates colour to guide the viewer through these structures, without the constraints of a fixed gaze. A deft control of colour, minimal tonal contrasts, and deliberately blurred or unfinished segments come together to create a purposeful absence, a conscious disruption of norms that seeks to question the learned ideologies attached to architectural spaces.

Presented on the first floor of JD Malat Gallery, the exhibition welcomes visitors to explore a deeply personal journey, influenced by Holly’s experiences, intuition, and a continuous process of unlearning, remaking, and rebuilding. Filled with ethereal imaginary compositions that possess a sense of openness and vastness, A Trans Arrangement of The Painted Space gives viewers space to reflect on their own authentic sense of ‘self’, and question how that authentic ‘self’ can occupy space in the real world.

Erin Holly (b.1986) is a London-based emerging artist whose oeuvre confronts the politics of gender and sexuality embedded in our built environment. Having graduated from the City and Guilds School of Art in London, Holly's artistic practice spans from the creation of small watercolours to public large-scale murals. Addressing a variety of themes Holly’s dynamic work provides a discourse on the politics of space and inclusion, trans identity, embodiment, and contemporary social categorizations. Drawing upon photographic source material from aspirational interior advertisements and catalogue images, Holly skilfully weaves together images of colourful homes with provocative visions of a utopian future. In pursuit of unveiling how capitalism has commodified the spaces we inhabit, Erin points to the transformative potential of the artistic imagination to create new ways of both being and seeing. Erin’s work powerfully destabilises the prevailing power structures that enforce binary gender relations and the forms of violence that often accompany them.

JD Malat Gallery
Erin Holly: A Trans Arrangement of The Painted Space
November 16th, 2023 – December 9th, 2023

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