Sullivan Goss is pleased to announce the gallery’s first solo exhibition for Holli Harmon. The title of the show, Califia, refers to the fictional queen of the island of California. First introduced by 16th-century poet Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo in his epic, Las Sergas de Esplandián, written around 1500, Califia often figures in the myth of California's origin, symbolizing an untamed and bountiful land prior to Europeans taking the land by force. Calafia has been depicted as the Spirit of California, and has been the subject of modern-day sculpture, paintings, stories and films.
The essence of Califia certainly weaves throughout each piece in the show, while she doesn’t specifically appear in Holli Harmon’s work. Figures of women dominate the subject matter, while icons of the state, such as acorns or grizzly bears, are layered throughout. This palimpsest echoes the cultural history of California from the Native Americans to the Latin Americans to today. Native plants and animals have a strong presence as they interact with the humans who have been here since the beginning. Holli’s work honors and records disappearing ways of life, flora and fauna that are endangered as well as the awe inspiring natural beauty of California.
Harmon used the title Archaeological Dig Series for her multilayered monoprints – a number of which will be exhibited here. And indeed there is a lot of treasure in each of these prints to uncover. Layers of California iconography keep the eye busy as it seeks out the buried treasures that sit alongside more obvious finds, while cold wax and oil paintings round out the exhibition.
Holli received her bachleors degree from UC Santa Barbara and her masters degree from San Diego State University. She has attended Santa Barbara City College for life drawing and printmaking classes as well as the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA and Sedona Arts Center in AZ. In 2016, she had a major exhibition of portraiture at the Elverhoj Museum in Solvang and in 2017, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History acquired one of her works. Holli joined Nicole Strasburg, Connie Connally, Nina Warner, Libby Smith, and Pamela Zwehl-Burke to create The River’s Journey project documenting the Santa Ynez watershed in 2018 at Sullivan Goss, the Wildling Museum, the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art and Santa Barbara City Hall. She currently resides in Santa Barbara, CA.
3:35 | Susan Bush