Bear with me here…as child who devoured Nancy Drew novels, discovering Portland Photographer, Holly Andres’, work was a total delight. A multi-talented photographer, filmmaker, and sculptor, Ms. Andres has a show opening at the Robert Mann Gallery in NYC on December 11th. Working with identical twins, Andres creates narratives influenced by Hitchcock and Nancy Drew book covers. Needless to say that I am hooked….can’t wait for the next chapter.
“The Sparrow Lane series is about adolescent girls who are on the cusp of acquiring forbidden knowledge – a metaphor for the
precarious transition from ‘girl’ to ‘woman’. The work is more playful and mischievous than the “Short Street” series while retaining some of the darkness and self referential themes from that work.
The photos reference rather recognizable iconography and use familiar and suggestive visual elements such as scissors, chrome flashlights, bird cages, and open drawers, doors and windows. Andres is interested in suspending any overt clues from the viewer so that they are encouraged to arrive at their own assumptions about what they think the scene is about. The body of work presents an elliptical narrative, a mystery, to encourage viewers to engage in and strive to solve along the way.
Many photos contain identical twins which Andres finds mysterious and compelling. The photos explore the idea of them as
counterparts, equivalents, or accomplices embarking on these discoveries together.
The eleven photos contained in the series were shot using an 8 x 10 large-format camera which emphasizes Andres’ use of rich colors, textures and patterns and dramatic, chiaroscuro-like lighting. Andres is influenced by the cinematic and thematic
conventions of Hitchcock’s work: highly theatrical lighting, rich color combinations, compositions, and his many female protagonists.
Andres is posing the models in a very melodramatic way. She revisited many of the Nancy Drew book covers that were read as a child and loved the body language of the characters on them: the way their hands frame the scene, the separation of their fingers, the way their hair frames their face and the startling, but lovely- expressions on their faces.”
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