Lyttelton art and life with Julia Holden

Lyttelton Redux by Julia Holden

Te Rangitiria :Wheke

Using non-toxic acrylic house paint, artist Julia Holden literally covers real people in paint to recreate modern versions of old photographs or paintings. In Lyttleton Redux her signature style of ‘living canvas’ art uses Lyttelton locals to reinact the port town’s history. Once covered in paint, they pose the same way their historic counterpart did many years earlier, so Holden can take a new photo. Each portrait is accompanied by combinations of archival audio, courtesy of Nga Taonga Sound and Vision, and a little audio about the present-day subject. The Walking Tour will be on till the end of March 2017.

I had a delightful afternoon with a map I picked up at the Lyttelton visiters centre locating the 23 portraits at 20 different locations. As it was a sunday when a business was shut, you could peer in a window from the street like viewing Mrs Isabella Ballard at the Independent Provedoring Company .

Mrs Isabella Ballard

The juxtaposition of the portraits within the context of shops, cafes and the Lyttelton police station  gives a frisson that a conventional gallery just does not have.

Robert Falcon Scott

Peering at Robert Falcon Scott enacted by Marlon Williams over the ice-cream cabinets in the Lyttelton dairy was a highlight as was
Hannah Beehre as Margaret Stoddart in the Harbour Co-op and Whole foods.

Margaret Stoddart

So convincing is  Julia’s use of paint on real humans, my sunday companion, who knew nothing about the artist’s technique, at first thought she was viewing real painted portraits rather than photographs. Julia is an accomplished albeit an unconventional painter. I found this to be a compelling and engrossing way to spend a Sunday afternoon and would highly recommend a viewing.

Jane Zusters 5/2/17

I am committed to finding new and innovative ways of combining painting with other media to diversify potential outcomes for painting. Creating works with outcomes that range from large-scale public projections to small-scale internet or mobile phone devices allows the artwork to reach diverse audiences in their everyday spaces. Julia Holden

Edward Gibbon Wakefield

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