Holly Anderson’s paintings explore sensory experiences with sunlight and landscape, familiar to life in Brisbane.
Sun and water continue to feature strongly in tourist imagery of Brisbane, with swimming placed as a defining activity for enjoying its sunlit landscape. Water is everywhere in Brisbane: in the river running through the spine of the city, in shimmering backyard pools and public swimming pools, and even in the fabricated beach in the heart of South Bank. But there is a tense relationship with water as well, a constant wariness of the powerful floods that engulf our suburbs, wild summer storms that can wreak havoc, and long periods of drought.
The pervasiveness of these waters across Brisbane compounds familiar sensations that can be recalled when we encounter the pool: the shocking coolness of water over the body, the slip of tiles in the shallows, the feeling of squinting into the sun as it catches on the water’s surface. Light on the water creates a familiar pattern across Brisbane, with the swimming pool a centre for these shared sensory memories.
Holly’s grids of bright blues and sharp whites evokes the shifting reflections and depths of a backyard pool in the sun. The smaller paintings capture the bodily sensations of being in the Brisbane sun, as Holly describes:
The strain in squinting, the glowing warmth of a new sunburn, the slick of wet hair and weight of humid air, the heat of the sun on the back of the neck, a trail of light that follows the body in a walk along the Brisbane River.
Experimenting with the physical qualities of paint, shape, colour and blinding negative space, the paintings attempt to capture shared memory and visceral sensations of Brisbane’s familiar waters and white-hot sunlight.
City in the Sun artwork credits
Sun Pool 2021
Before Diving 2021
Sun Shower 2021
Oil on panel
Museum of Brisbane Collection
Courtesy the artist