By Holly Keogh
Oil on canvas, 2020
60 x 71.75 in.
Holly Keogh “aims to render visible our desire to preserve experience” in her narrative, semi-documentary paintings. Inspired by photographs shared between family in American and England during her youth, Keogh’s paintings offer hazy, gently blurred narratives that speak to our desire to archive the past while knowing we cannot truly recreate or encapsulate it. The transparency of the paint and lack of sharp detail simulates the uncertainty of memory and time, inviting a delving of memory and the projection of the viewer’s own experiences into the narrative. These captured moments hold a sense of unease or disquiet; forever passed, they haunt in their incompleteness.
In Girls Running, the hazy imagery and gently faded colors serve multiple thematic roles. The indistinct details of the image continue the artist’s exploration of the imperfection of memory and shared experience. Here however, the blurring of limbs and faces also exaggerates the sense of movement, adding another layer within which the viewer can participate. Girls Running is currently included in the traveling exhibition Rising Voices 2: The Bennett Prize for Women Figurative Realist Artists organized by the Muskegon Museum of Art.
Keogh graduated in 2012 with a BFA in painting from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a course of study that included a year abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. She currently lives and works in Charlotte, where she is represented by SOCO Gallery. Keogh is an original member of the Goodyear Artist Collective and was an inaugural artist-in-residence with the program. In 2019, she participated in the Pienkow Artist Residency in Chelm, Poland (where she received the People’s Choice Award) and in 2020 held an artist-in-residence at the McColl Center for Art in Charlotte. Her art has appeared in the magazines Our State, Home Design and Décor, Hi-Fructose, and The Charlotte Observers, among others, and in the 2018 publication The Beautiful Book of Exquisite Corpses: A Creative Game of Limitless Possibilities, by Gavin Edwards.