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image
Jim Holyoak, Book of Nineteen Nocturnes, 2002-2016.
Conte illustré, 500 pages, divisé en 19 feuillets reliés en accordéon, encre de Chine,
graphite, aquarelle, impression jet d’encre et collage sur papier,
30,48 x 43,18 x 30,48 cm.
Hand-drawn novel, 500 pages long, divided into 19 accordion books, India ink, graphite, watercolour, ink-jet prints, and collaged text on paper, 30,48 x 43,18 x 30,48 cm.
Avec l'aimable permission de
l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist

Jim Holyoak
From January 28th 2017 to March 25th 2017
Book of Nineteen Nocturnes

An inveterate night-owl and somewhat of a loner, Jim Holyoak works like a prowling cat: in tune with the shadows, his muffled movements hardly breaking the star-lit silence. In his wake, one usually finds formidable mural frescos bustling with curious life forms, suspended between terrestrial deep time and imagined future configurations rising from the ferment of life’s potentialities. His pictorial universe translates a fascinating empathy for all forms of life—extinct, current, and imagined—and a willingness to plumb their inherent strangeness. Holyoak inhabits an tremulous, evolving, hetero-chronic world that he renders for us in sensitive gestures of India-ink, graphite, and watercolour. If his mural installations sometimes derive from collaborative work, his constant production of sketches drawn from life reflects a rather hidden dimension of his sensory world. His sketches document his perambulations in the wilds of Northern Europe, China, Canada, and testify to an existential solitude imbuing these contemplative travels. At OPTICA, the accumulated drawings form the substratum of an epic narrative in nineteen chapters presented in the form of a mysterious archive.

A tentative, uncertain, and vaguely autobiographical odyssey, Book of Nineteen Nocturnes tells a story of wandering, a search for belonging, that ultimately results in the discovery of one’s own very intimate otherness. At the intersection of Lewis Caroll, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Guillermo del Toro, this travel narrative draws heterogenous, aeonic memories of Earth’s deep time into a monstrous, supernatural and dreamlike universe. As in a post-humanist dream, trees show off their capacity for reason, sensitive matter mingles with the living, species fuse into complex hybrids that defy classification. In the form of a tale, he reveals a twilight world where “reality,” merging with dreams and diverging from appearances, becomes a fleeting concept, intelligible only through a differed or displaced gaze. In this sense, Book of Nineteen Nocturnes echoes a long line of philosophical interrogations of the real, whether the latter be cosmic, quantum, or metaphysical.

Author: Gentiane Bélanger

Art historian Gentiane Bélanger is the director/curator of the Foreman Art Gallery at Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke.

Traductor: Ron Ross

COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE (pdf)

PRESS REVIEW
SIROIS-ROULEAU, Dominique (2017). «Jim Holyoak, Book of Nineteen Nocturnes et Nelson Henricks, Life Session». Esse arts + opinions. no 90, printemps été, pp. 94-95.

KOZINSKA, Dorota. "Something's Stirring In The Night Or Jim Holyoak's Nocturnal Musings". Vie des arts. February, 21, 2017.

L’HEUREUX, Chantal. Interview with Jim Holyoak. Magazine radio In situ. Radio Centre-Ville, CINQ - Radio Centre Ville 102.3 FM, March 22, 2017.

L’HEUREUX, Chantal. "Événements". Magazine radio In situ. Radio Centre-Ville, CINQ - Radio Centre Ville 102.3 FM, March 20 – 26, 2017.



Originally from Aldergrove, British Columbia, Jim Holyoak lives and works in Montreal. His works are widely circulated in Canada, the United States, and Northern Europe, particularly at the bG Gallery (Santa Monica, California) and Centre Clark (Montreal). He holds an MFA in visual arts from Concordia University (2011), a degree from Álfaskólinn, the Icelandic Elf School in Reykjavik, in Elf and Hidden people studies, and has studied ink wash painting in Yangshuo, China.