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Wendy Holmes

Search terms: Painting, landscape, abstract, fantasy, oil, canvas

About the artist:

‘It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end' .
Ursula K LeGuin

The journey is symbolic in many cultures and religions for a spiritual rite of passage. It is often paralleled with the search for the self, a sense of belonging, history or purpose in life. Delving deep into the heart of the landscape, Wendy Holmes takes us on a journey that unearths these themes in her latest exhibition ‘Whispers from a Journey' at Mullalyup Gallery.

Driven by the search for a sense of history and belonging, Wendy Holmes journeyed across England and Ireland (Holmes was born in London) and discovered ‘an overwhelming sense of belonging' in Connemara, Ireland which has led her to be ‘curiously more at home in my current place of abode, now knowing what I seek from the Australian landscape.'

Drawing inspiration from huge Neolithic monuments in Ireland, Wendy Holmes revisits themes familiar in her work a decade ago (that explored the hidden symbols in the landscape of our South West Coastline) with renewed vigour, intriguingly finding herself leaning toward a more abstract approach to her new works.

Fascinated by stones, Holmes weaves their enduring elemental magic throughout her works as symbolic representations of the self and the journey into the self through nature. It is their very essence of ‘stillness' and longevity within nature, withstanding the test of time to exist large and looming - still bearing the mysterious markings of ancient civilisations that allures.

‘Looking beyond and seeing into the landscape' Holmes encourages us to see not only the beauty of the landscape but to explore the hidden symbols embedded within nature as she delicately layers paint and texture on the canvas to reveal a subtly threaded storyline that emerges as the ‘landscape of our lives'.

Each canvas becomes an exploration of the self as Holmes gently teases out a suggestion of representational form from a lacework of texture and colour. We begin to see a horizon, a clutch of trees, an entrance, a crevice merging in and out of abstraction and find we are inexplicably immersed in a philosophical journey of spiral growth, returning almost to the same point yet somehow just beyond it each time. Discovering a new depth of colour, new shape or symbol that didn't appear to be present before seems to mimic the spiraling labyrinth of self discovery and growth in life's journey.

In a radical departure from her characteristic enigmatic representations of the landscape, Holmes experiments with an intuitive approach to applying paint to canvas - utilising her own intuition without ‘imposing expectation' by layering the paint freely, ‘trusting the process to create an honest expression'. Connecting the paths woven beneath the surface of great trees by borer beetle larvae with our own paths in life, Holmes sees these mysterious channels as ‘evidence of a journey'. Like ancient paths they appear as curious marks without explanation. Holmes renders similar journeys carved into the paint and stretching across the canvas, spiraling in places seemingly echoing our own journey across the landscape and across time.

‘Whispers from a Journey' is a journey in itself. It represents the opportunity for people to see another stage of growth in the art of Wendy Holmes and to ‘connect to a still point within them'.

Oil on canvas
35 x 35 cm

Oil on canvas
76 x 40 cm

Oil on canvas
90 x 120 cm

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Page last updated 28 November, 2011