Memories of Montreal

October 2, 2008

Including his past as a theme isn’t new for Holden. His work from the early 90s dealt with these themes as well. Beginning his new series he was initially a bit self-conscious of the fact that I had already gone down that road. But he soon realized there must be reason why he wants to go back and still investigate that for himself.

He was also coming off a series of work that was more removed from himself. Using security camera images downloaded off the internet, he painted landscape works of Toronto’s Gardner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway. When he went back to Montreal he realized there was still something else to explore.

“For this series part of it became developing the narrative. In my highway paintings it was getting the concept. From there it was pretty much doing the labour. I did a few and thought these are working out, so I did the whole project. For these ones I knew the locations were important for whatever reason.”

Beginning with straight architectural paintings, Holden soon found he wasn’t able to respond with the work enough. So he started bringing in objects that held meaning to him. A soup bowl belonging to his dead grandfather. A gift box given to him from an ex-girlfriend. An old tape recorder. A full moon from October 6th, 2006. The result is a series of surreal works dealing with the past with a deft lack of sentimentality.

“So in a number of paintings there are these objects that really have no monetary value, but I inherited them once the person has moved on or passed away…As soon as I added a different object it tended to change the meaning of the painting quite quickly.”

Much of the work also deals with Holden’s struggle to find a sense of home after moving away from Montreal. Monarch butterflies, hummingbirds and other migratory images enhance themes of movement.

Finished with the series, Holden isn’t sure if he’s resolved his feelings about his past and current life. “Overtime if I do feel I have a need to go back and investigate my past I’ll probably do that.”

Holden’s paintings will be on display from Wed October 8 – Sat November 8 at Montreal’s Galerie SAS.


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