In preparation for her upcoming exhibition ‘Same Same’, we were lucky enough to visit Holly Roach in her home studio where we chatted about the show over a cuppa tea and some sweet treats, Holly shared her ideas behind the work and what the push was to turn that idea into a show.
1. What is the idea behind your upcoming show ‘Same Same’?
‘Same Same’ is the idea that there is a sameness that runs through us as a people. That underneath all our stories we are far more similar than different, but our preconceived judgments and stereotyping can stop us from seeing those similarities, and stop us from empathizing.
By using the same portrait ‘template’ for each painting, and then adding different elements, narratives and backgrounds, I was hoping to convey that beneath the layers, the core of who we are is similar.
2. Where and how did this idea come about?
I was playing around with some simple stencil ‘head’ shapes and created a reverse print from a very wet screen print I had just pulled, and liked how both images were the same, but different. Even though I had started to add different hand-drawn elements to each there was still something similar running through them. I thought it might be interesting to create a series of different portraits from one original identical form.
3. What pushed you to turn the idea into an art exhibition?
Two things. I really wanted to step out of my artistic comfort zone and take on a different subject matter. If you know my work, you know that birds take centre stage. Although I still approached these works with my familiar decorative style that is found in my ‘flora and fauna’ paintings I wanted to convey some personal thoughts, to exorcize a few conversations that I had been having in my head.
There also seemed to be this rising noise surrounding nationalistic xenophobic views from many places around the world. A real ‘us against them’ mentality, especially concerning immigration issues. I wanted to explore the story of similarity. How despite all our differences, the core of who we are is very similar. I am guilty of holding judgments and presumptions about life and people, so it was an interesting way to spend time with these thoughts.
4. Has the exhibition turned out the way you wanted it to?
I am really proud of these works and very excited to see how people react to them. I don’t know if I can ever say that the final work is what I wanted it to be. I often want to do better. It often takes doing something, to then know what I wanted to be doing all along. Each body of work plants seeds though, germinating away for another show. With more time and more studio space, I definitely would have gone BIG!
5. Is this a new style of work we can expect to see more of from you at endemicworld?
I certainly think these paintings have got me excited about diving a little more deeply into the storytelling aspect of art, and to play with different techniques. It’s been really enjoyable to use the brushes more, and very meditative to use a lot more drawing. Often it’s the audience’s reaction to my work that dictates where I go to next. It’s the fine line between playing your own tune and paying the piper. A girl’s gotta eat.
Same Same Exhibition Opening
Friday 10th August, 6pm
62 Ponsonby Road, Auckland
10th – 20th August