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Review: Holly Andres at Robert Mann Gallery

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 27, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 6, 2014

The Fall of Spring Hill

Through March 10, 2012

With lush color and dynamic drama Holly Andres presents the still-framed narrative The Fall of Spring Hill. Andres borrows from personal memory of a childhood event and incorporates identification from the children and the mothers in the story she narrates. The series is a successful succession of moments that fonction both simply as they relate to this story and also as parallel pattern of perhaps more significant events. The rhythm and construction of the frames is so intentioned, so well chosen, so fluid that it too helps to elevate importance and open thought to greater parallel.

The backdrop is a summer church camp- mothers are in the kitchen and the children at play. Little moments are treated with frankness, sincerity, but also spark humor at the 

seemingly banal. The knife inThe Watermelonand the punch and mug inFallseem to underline the simplicity of the day- the clock ticks, the women chat and daydream, the children play, the lunch is about to be served. As the series progresses, however, we realize that object and symbolism have created a sense of foreshadowing- the red punch and shattered coffee mug become crucial signifiers.


From the kitchen we return to the field and a wooden tower where the children have been at play. Time begins to slow. Fragmentation relates to memory, to the pieces we recall wen something bad happens. The two witness frames seem to stop time. Something happened, something bad. We do not see the fall, we do not know the gravity, but the hesitation in the children's eyes is telling. We hear the laughter stop. Heroism is felt in the succeeding frame,The Children Descend Spring Hill. There is a strange emotion to this and the witness frames as we experience the different understandings the children have of the accident. There is tenderness, there is a desire to aide, a sense of urgency to return to the mothers for help. The mothers are then seen marching through the field to take their revenge. Seen as heroic soldiers they are out for blood and heavily armed. The women spare the tower no mercy- they beat with bats and hack with axes until it has toppled. We are given a final frame of the ruines with the youngest of the children siting quietly beside the fallen giant.

There is a humanity to the work, there is a larger drama, there is a playful and a serious lining to the series. The final frames work to inspire reflection on how this pattern of reaction exists in scenarios more grave than the aftermath of an accident at summer camp.

For more information on the exhibition please visit Robert Mann Gallery

Wall Street Journal Review and Interview.

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