Wirth Gallery, 18 October 2014 to 4 January 2015
Who is Holly Davey?
· Holly Davey is an artist who lives and works in Cardiff.
· She works with ideas surrounding memory, object and archive.
· Since graduating from Goldsmiths College, London, in 1998, she has exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions in the UK and internationally.
What is the background to the exhibition?
· The exhibition continues the Holburne’s commitment to displaying the work of contemporary artists who have studied our collection and ‘responded’ to it
· This is a co-commission with the Holburne Museum and ICIA, University of Bath. Part two will be exhibited in the opening season of the University of Bath’s new Centre for the Arts, Spring 2015.
What was Davey’s approach?
· The installation has been inspired by the Museum’s collection.
· By studying the Holburne’s archive and discussing with our curators, she developed a particular interest in the three Holburne sisters, especially Mary Ann Barbara (1802-1882), the last of the Holburne family line.
· In her will, Miss Holburne ensured that the family’s collection and name were bequeathed in trust to create the Museum.
· Working with objects from the collection and research into the period, Davey’s installation blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction. It reflects on these women’s hidden and largely forgotten lives by reanimating them.
What is in the exhibition and why?
There are four elements to the exhibition
· A film on the landing by Davey titled ‘Never leaving. Never arriving.’ The film is shot from the side of a ferry looking down on to the water. The sea is a metaphor for Davey’s suggestion that the Holburne’s sisters’ lives were perhaps unfilled and asks ‘were [they] able to escape, disappear or fade away? Or were you caught in an endless sea. Never leaving, never arriving’
· A framed gold triangle from Mary Ann Barbara’s scrap book. The gold edges physically frame nothing but Davey sees the emptiness as the potential for possibilities in the lives of the sisters Books.
There are two shelves of books. Mary Ann Barbara’s books were sold with parts of the Holburne estate around 1882. This is a recreation of her library, based on the original probate inventory. The books in the display are not the actual books that Miss Holburne owned but they are the correct titles. Davey has included these in the display to show visitors the literary tastes of Miss Holburne.
· Printed text on a plinth. This text is written by Davey and visitors may take a copy. Davey’s words are her explanation of the exhibition.