Chris Holley

Chris Holley (UK) July 2015 - This mural is no longer visible due to weathering

Chris Holley aimed to convey the gravity and joyfulness of Sicilians in her mural by portraying faceless men and women, with a clear connection to the traditional Sicilian dance, the tarantella siciliana.

“I am eagerly anticipating my time in Graniti, where I can fully immerse myself in the captivating ambiance of Sicily. Alongside visual art, my profound passions lie in dance and music, making me eager to delve into the unique dance and music traditions of this region.

Drawing primarily from memory and imagination, Chris’s artistic style is heavily influenced by her extensive background in dance and choreography. She believes, ‘Visual art, dance, and music possess remarkable similarities, and the boundaries between them constantly intertwine, serving as abundant sources of inspiration.’

Her area of expertise lies in exploring the significant impact of Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes on the realm of visual arts.

Chris Holley, an abstract/figurative painter with a background in dance and choreography, draws inspiration primarily from memory and imagination. Her vibrant and expressive paintings showcase exceptional drawing skills and a keen sense of line, blurring the boundaries between different art forms. Having extensively studied the profound influence and contributions of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes on various artistic disciplines, her writings on the subject are now preserved in esteemed institutions such as the National Library of Art in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. Holley regularly exhibits in the UK, with her art also being held in collections in the USA and Spain.

In her artistic practice, Holley employs acrylic and oil paints, along with household emulsion. She adds depth by scratching and carving into the luscious paint surface. When possible, she prefers working on a large scale and utilizes sponges, cloths, sticks, and her hands, alongside other studio tools, to create unexpected marks. Rejecting the confines of a predetermined canvas size, she primes her own canvas, paints it unstretched, and later crops the image to the precise dimensions desired. During the painting process, she moves the canvas from the floor, where paint is poured, sprayed, puddled, and merged, to the easel for vertical painting. This dynamic and physical approach allows for a diverse range of captivating marks.

Recognizing the emergence of new forms of social exchange and dialogue between the arts after their prolonged silence during lockdown, Holley believes that we are currently witnessing a blossoming of artistic expression that acknowledges and connects with one another. She is actively involved in the ambitious project “Feeling the Beat” at South Hill Park Arts Centre in Bracknell, playing a leading role in fostering this creative synergy. This immersive participation also propels her forward in evolving the visual language of her abstract art.