An unNatural History

an UnNatural History - Exhibition

Artists: Kathryn Bell, Kristen D’Aquila, Wilder Duncan, Lavinia Hanachiuc, Mar Hester, Holly McClellan, Judith Pudden, Kest Schwartzman, Rosemary Stehlik, Tosca Teran, Pati Tozer, Elaine Whittaker, Ele Willoughby, Cynthia Winters



An UnNatural History

October 5 – November 2, 2017
T.E.S.T. Gallery, 906 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON

Opening Reception:  Friday October 13 – 7- midnight
Tarot readings with Alie Tarot – 8 pm – midnight
Spin the Wheel Raffle
Best Costume Prize
Cash Bar

Some of my work from Pico, Azores for  Once Upon Water was part of an UnNatural History curated by Tosca Teran of Nanopod Studios.

Once I read the call description for this show, I knew I wanted to use work from Once Upon Water and apply feedback from the residency.  Light boxes were created for this show.  I had worked with a commercial grade lightbox for another exhibition.

The title of the show was intriguing and inspiring.  I liked the idea of alluding to old curiosity cabinets.  There is some play between the movement in the images and the containment of the lightboxes.  Old 3-panel, vintage windows and replica hardware were used to fabricate two of the lightboxes.  There is a flow to the images, yet the window frames create separation and start to act as containers.  For a few shows I have enjoyed working with several images and experimenting with layout.


The other 3 works were inspired by small aquarium fish tanks.  Boxes were fabricated and painted a metallic copper colour.  There is an element of odd as some of the images show a surface view.  All the boxes are powered with LED lights and  dimmer switches.  The vibrant, unnatural looking colours in the works change depending on the intensity of the light.

unNatural History Exhibition - Holly McClellan's work

Installation shot of Holly McClellan’s work for AnUnNatural History at T.E.S.T. Gallery, 906 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON.

The works for an UnNatural History are a mix of abstract and realism.  The natural starts to become unnatural.  Some images or parts of an image are straight forward, showing seaweed, tiny fish, rocks and water patterns.  Other images are very abstracted, showing only hints of the actual scene.  Colour informs and misleads when reading these works.  Available light, the sea lettuce and shallow water fish were the source materials for creating psychedelic, sometimes dizzying, green images.

Detail from Window Panel - Shallow Views, Holly McClellan

Detail. 16 x 10 inches.   Panel of greens & tiny fish.   An UnNatural History

In other works forms start to evolve and present kitschy figures.  Those forms and figures provide a backdrop for storytelling.  Stories from the waters of Pico may or may not be linear.  It is up to the viewer to decide.

From Shallow Views

From Shallow Views.   24 x20 inches.    An UnNatural History.

From Shallow Views

Shallow Views. Detail. 16 x10 inch panel. An UnNatural History.