Jim Holyoak : Gargantuans
The drawings in this exhibition are varied, in content and mood, but they all reflect the highly particular outlook and aesthetic that Holyoak has created and nurtured. A technically gifted draftsman, Holyoak has also put in a tremendous number of work hours, in researching and honing his technique as a drawer. This time spent is clearly reflected in the knowing virtuosity of the artist’s realization of each of these works - but perhaps even more so in the complexity and fullness of their vision, their presentness of spiritual exploration and openness.
In Ostara for example, which is a piece made in Norway, on Easter, and fully from observation, Holyoak conveys a particular aura and a magic, imbuing the landscape with a sacral presence, a hauntingly fragile beauty. While in Wandering Gargantuan, he imagines a beast of sublime proportions and power, something like a ghostly, Godzilla-esque demigod. And in Elasmotherium (Siberian Unicorn), Holyoak stretches his powers of imagination and thematic combination to brazenly comic effect, while maintaining an atmosphere of oneiric potentiality. In this drawing, a monster - a creature that actually existed during the Pleistocene epoch - lies dreaming in and of a spoof Biblical scene of two unicorns mating, thus missing the boat - Noah’s ark - bringing themselves to extinction. It isn’t clear what this beast’s fantasy precisely means for us, but the tragicomic sense it exudes, and commentary on romance, loneliness, and time’s massive scale and effects provides a fresh and bracing sense of artistic breakthrough. In Gargantuans, Holyoak conveys a world all his own.
Jim Holyoak is a Nelson, British Columbia based artist. He is known for his imaginative and darkly beautiful drawing practice, as well as for his collaborative work of many years with Matt Shane. His work can be found in institutional collections, such as the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Musée d'art contemporain des Laurentides, the Musée d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul, the Royal Ontario Museum, the RBC Collection, the Bank of Montreal, and the Carleton University Art Gallery, as well as numerous public and private collections. He holds a BFA from the University of Victoria and an MFA from Concordia University. Most recently, his collaborative work with Matt Shane was featured in an international publication, Drawing in the Present Tense, edited by Roger Malbert & Claire Gilman and distributed by Thames & Hudson, UK.