Holly Friesen was born in Rosthern, Saskatchewan; studied Visual Arts at John Abbott College in Montreal and painting at York University in Toronto. After many years of travel and study she settled in Mont-Tremblant, QC and opened ArtBeat Studio where she painted and taught for 15 years. Four summer seasons saw Holly as artistic director and curator of The Art Barn in Mont-Tremblant. In 2010 she was curator and project manager of Ateliers du Village, an artist run gallery in Mont-Tremblant village. For three years she worked as the Montreal curator for the daily online art auction ArtBomb which features Canadian artists and their artwork. The artist’s current studio is based out of Montreal QC where she also works as artistic director and curator of E.K. Voland Art Gallery. Her paintings are collected internationally and part of both corporate and private collections. Holly’s passion is painting vibrant landscapes from the inside out while collaborating with other artists to make art more visible in our everyday world.
My work revolves around earth-honouring images that reflect and instil connection to local bio-regions. These images internalize a reverence for the earth and shift the intent from harming the world to living in a mutually life enhancing manner.
After 30 years of painting from close observation of the forests, rocks and rivers, I feel I am no longer observing the natural world around me but rather, in a reversal of roles, the natural world seems to be observing me. Direct and spontaneous brushstrokes become intuitive movements that follow breath and echo emotional responses to this living breathing vitality. Through a dynamic energetic exchange I feel as though I am being held within an intelligent, sentient field that expresses itself through colors, shapes and movement. I am both humbled and awed by this process.
I learn what I need to know by painting. The more I paint the less separation there is between inner and outer ecologies which results in a linking of perceptions with the natural world where attempts to define or control are useless. For me, painting is like deep prayer awakening a reverence for the earth’s inner landscape; the image is in you and you are in the image. Painting is my breath, beauty my compass, and the earth my body.