Exhibit | Holly Andres: The Fallen Fawn

Photo: River Road: Milepost 13. 2015. Archival pigment print. Edition of 3, 2AP. 28 x 42 inches.

Born in Missoula, Montana, Holly Andres uses photography to examine the complexities of childhood and the fleeting nature of memory as it becomes the vessel in which we hold and develop our identities. The Fallen Fawn, her newest series of work, is currently on view at Charles A. Hartman Fine Art, Portland, OR, now through May 28, 2016.

Also: Exhibit | Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison: Precipice

The Fallen Fawn is comprised of nineteen beautifully produced photographs that illustrate a mysterious and compelling story that conceals as much as it reveals. Andres shares the story of her two older sisters who, as adolescents, found an abandoned suitcase near the river behind their house. They peaked inside the suitcase to discover the belongings of a woman they did not know, a woman with a taste for the feminine as manifest by clothing, accessories, and jewels. Andres’ sisters take the suitcase home, hide it under their bed, and at night, secretly play dress up in her things.

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Drift: Elk Rock Island. 2015. Archival pigment print. Edition of 3, 2AP. 28 x 42 inches

A sinister secret lurks deep within the treasure trove and though the secret is never revealed, we can feel its presence throughout the work. There is a sense of mystery and danger lurking throughout the photographs, never quite manifesting itself beyond the shadows that knowingly suggest that all is not safe and sound in this quiet little world.

Andres creates highly stylized photographs using elaborately staged interiors, lighting, texture and color to illustrate a story that lies somewhere between fiction and memory. Reminding us of the power of narrative and the way in which it shapes our idea of reality, The Fallen Fawn is constructed like a fairy tale, providing us with the ability to perceive fantasy and reality as mutually exclusive yet strangely interchangeable ideals. Lush and cinematic, Andres’ photographs are both calm and tense, balancing a powerful interplay between secrets and truth. In contrast to their private world of dress up, we see the sisters mindful of family and God, praying at the dinner table while giving each other knowing looks of another realm that is theirs alone to explore.

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River Road: Milepost 39. 2015. Archival pigment print. Edition of 12, 2AP. 20 x 30 inches.

Andres’ beautifully crafts these images so that it’s never quite known what the mystery is, though one might draw their own conclusions from a lost suitcase found floating along the surface of a lake. The identity of the unknown woman is never revealed, but as the sisters adopt her belongings, the woman manifests in her ability to influence those she has never met. And with this manifestation, the sisters begin to channel the hidden in plain sight. No longer are they merely virtuous young blondes; they have become girls who are capable of secret lives.

Photos: ©Holly Andres, courtesy of Charles A. Hartman Fine Art.

Miss Rosen is a New York-based writer, curator, and brand strategist. There is nothing she adores so much as photography and books. A small part of her wishes she had a proper library, like in the game of Clue. Then she could blaze and write soliloquies to her in and out of print loves.