Holly Andres, The Fallen Fawn, River Road: Milepost 13, 2015, C-print mounted on sintra, 28 x 42.” Images courtesy of the artis
Holly Andres, The Fallen Fawn, River Road: Milepost 13, 2015, C-print mounted on sintra, 28 x 42.” Images courtesy of the artis

Exhibition Date: 

January 20, 2018 to March 25, 2018

Reception Date: 

Saturday, January 20, 2018 - 1:00pm

Holly Andres: The Homecoming
January 20 through March 25
January 20, 1PM, Artist Talk; 2-5PM, Opening Reception

This quarter, the Museum of Northwest Art will focus on storytelling in and through art. How can we tell stories through art? How does art spread messages or statements? How many different stories exist in one artwork? In a Ted Talk entitled 2600 Years of History in One Object, Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, described that all objects have a life that is initiated when they are created, and they often outlive the creator. Through their lives, objects also have multiple biographies that relate to current events, people and cultural trends. As we look deeper into the Winter exhibits, let’s think about the different stories told by the artists and lived by the objects.

Contemporary photographer Holly Andres specializes in telling compelling and dramatic stories, often rooted in her real-life experiences. Several series will be on display at MoNA, but the exhibit will begin with The Fallen Fawn. In this series, a woman leaves behind a suitcase with all her earthly possessions and it is found by two young sisters. In secret, the two girls go through the contents of the suitcase and discover many objects associated with adult femininity including red lipstick, a negligee, and high heels.

The series begins with two photographs that are almost completely devoid of color, except for the mysterious woman’s red nails and blue suitcase. The dramatic lighting, sense of dread, and lack of color remind us of a film noir or “dark film”. The rest of the series also has a cinematic quality and the viewer gets a glimpse inside of a world completely constructed by the photographer yet also familiar. It is difficult to place the vents in our world, but Andres has stated that the series is based her two older sisters’ experiences. The series is filled with contrasts and juxtapositions. The fallen fawn, menacing secrecy versus youthful naivety, and young girls exploring a mysterious woman’s suitcase are all a part of the complexity of the story.

When analyzing and viewing these photographs, it is work taking a closer look at the details included by Andres. Take the lipstick for example. Red lipstick has long been associated with sensual femininity and has been the center of many marketing campaigns. The one that immediately comes to mind is Revlon’s Fire and Ice advertisement in 1952 that featured matching red lips and nails. The color represented a bold siren with a little bit of mystery made of fire and ice. Red lipstick features prominently and repeatedly in The Fallen Fawn, and the mysterious woman also has red nails to match. In the last photograph of the series, the red lipstick is knocked over on the girls’ dresser and it is surrounded with symbols of youth. A fawn figurine is to the right and a book entitled A Little Miss Nobody by Amy Bell Marlowe rests in clear view behind the tube of lipstick. The book is about a young girl who discovers her identity.

So, what will happen to the girls in Andres’ photographs? Will they follow the path of the fawn or try to find their own identity?

Another series on view will be Backseat Vanitas. The theme of vanitas dates back to the Middle Ages, and artists have used this strategy to point out the inevitability of death and the futility of gathering earthly possessions. In Andres’ Backseat Vanitas, we can see some of the same themes as in 15 th century paintings: aging, spoiled or destroyed food, and vain beauty. The symbols have been updated to our time, but the message remains just as clear. Andres’ photographs are rich in color and the objects are sumptuous in their texture and shine, but a deeper look reveals a
challenging caution.

Holly Andres has shown in galleries and museums from Barcelona, Istanbul and Bogota, to New York, San Fransisco and Atlanta with viewers drawn to her often dark and mysterious or bright and witty photographs. Andres regularly photographs editorial assignments for many prestigious publications including The New York Times Magazine, TIME, The New Yorker, and The California Sunday Magazine, while her fine art has been featured in Art in America, Artforum, Exit Magazine, Art News, Modern Painters, British Journal of Photography, PDN, American Photo, Oprah Magazine, Glamour, Bust, and Art Ltd.- which profiled her as one of the 15 emerging West Coast artists under the age of 35. 
One of Andres most recent projects was a 43-day fashion shoot for New York Magazine. She started taking photographs on June 19 in Portland, OR and ended in Missoula, MT on July 31, 2017. 


Museum of Northwest Art


The Museum of Northwest Art connects people with the art, diverse cultures and environments of the Northwest. 



MoNA collects and exhibits contemporary art from across the Northwest, including Alaska, British Columbia, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.