Tacoma artist Holly Senn is going places - both literally and figuratively. Figuratively she's going places because at this stage in her career she may well be Tacoma's most successful up-and-coming visual artist. Literally she's going to Portland and Seattle, and who knows where she may go next.
She's preparing for an installation called "Inhabit" at The Gallery @ the Jupiter in Portland, (800 East Burnside St.) that opens Sept. 7. Like a busy bee (following the literal/figurative trend), she's hard at work making wasp nests and honeycombs for that installation.
In Seattle she currently has a piece called "Coding/Uncoding," in a show called "Portraits of Pride" at Gay City Health Project, 511 E Pike St.
Back home in Tacoma, she will have an installation at Pacific Lutheran University's University Center, and in December she will be in a group show of past nominees for the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation Art Award.
Senn says "Inhabit" is an installation that is "site-responsive" to the Jupiter Hotel.
It will comprise14 unique paper wasp nests and 15 honeycomb forms hanging from branch bundles, "the essence of tree forms," made in partnership with Mick Newham to accent the work and suggest a sense of the outdoors.
"I am responding to structures that take hold temporarily in nature and ideas that temporarily inhabit the mind. I invite viewers to explore the making of a temporary home - a place of shelter to live and be present in, to make one's own temporary space," she says. "Ideas engage the mind in a similar way; some ideas are temporary, others are more permanent, all are related in networks of connection. The temporal nature of my installation considers the permanence and impermanence of ideas dwelling in the mind, as well as the temporary nature of being physically situated in the world."
"In my work," she continues, "I explore the lifecycle of ideas, how ideas are generated, dispersed, remembered or forgotten. Because I look at permanence and impermanence, forms of plants and other organisms that have visible regeneration cycles are interpreted in my art. An underlying tension in my work is that the discipline and practice of librarianship, from which I draw upon, is often romantically imagined to be aligned with print while contemporary practice is driven by patron desire for digital access. I transform books - recognizable symbols of recorded and shared information - and their pages into new forms, using the iconic materials to consider the recursive nature of ideas."
As I have stated numerous times in reviews of Senn's work, she is one of those rare creatures whose work is equally conceptual and visual. Her sculptures - usually small works made from pages out of old and discarded books and displayed on sculpture stands - and her room-size installations - generally made from the same materials, are all about ideas generated from the materials and their implications, meaning the pages of books and the trees they are made from and ideas surrounding the act of reading and the environment in which those trees grow. But there is much more to her work than the idea. Her work is also visually stunning. There is visual resonance between the individual pieces that make up her installations and the spaces in which they are displayed.
Her latest area of visually and mental exploration looks into the nature of nest building and all that implies, beginning with the materials (book pages as always) and metaphorically looking into the nature of nesting, home and security.
Information on Holly Senn and images or her work can be seen at www.ryksenn.com.