Holli Harmon finds herself to be a contrarian at times, so as a painter, the description of a “contemporary traditionalist” is fitting. Her work revolves around human experiences that are connection points between different cultures and generations set in iconic California imagery. Her paintings are material records of these places and people.
Harmon continually experiment with the paint and surface and texture, so that it has a life separate from the subject it describes. The image is not photorealistic, but rather painted by any means necessary, whether it is impasto paint with palette knives and cold wax or thin glazes of color.
Through her personal lens, She discovers themes and re-tells stories that make up our human experience. They are always found on the edge of our own personal borders of space and time.
Harmon grew up in the small town of Redlands in Southern California. It holds a University that was surrounded by a sea of orange groves with a purple mountain range as its backdrop. It was the quintessential small town filled with odd characters, opposing points of view, and erratic transitions from old habits and traditions to a modern SoCal suburb. Her upbringing was equally eccentric and mainstream. She recieved a Bachelor's degree from and attended UC San Diego for graduate school. She has lived along the coast of California ever since. She has lived in Santa Barbara for over 30 years.
3:35 | Narrated by Susan Bush | Released for HOLLI HARMON: Califia, 2020
TWELVE GOUACHE PAINTINGS ON FABRIANO WATERCOLOR PAPER may be Holli Harmon’s crown jewel. Each one features a month of the year reproduced from an 1866 Farmer’s Almanac, when hand labor began to be replaced with machine farming. Each piece, inspired by her sketchbook, represents a month of the year at the Jalama Canyon Ranch, floating over deep blue cyanotype prints made using autochthonous vegetation.
Two shows open July 28 at Sullivan Goss: 1) Holli Harmon’s To Feast on Clouds: “An impressive group of 89 paintings of clouds rendered onto vintage tableware will take over the walls of one of the gallery’s spaces. The accumulation of clouds from sunny to stormy and everything in between creates a conversation about water, where it comes from and how it works in relation to the food we grow that eventually ends up on our tables.”
Nicole Strasburg’s Surfacing: “Long associated with 12 x 12 inch paintings on birch panels that seem to float away from the white walls of the gallery, the artist has, in the last two years, adopted a slightly larger square format of 14 x 14 inch panels with beautifully-finished wood sides. Impressive suites of paintings in both formats can be seen and purchased in this special exhibition. They will be joined by a focused presentation of larger paintings that revel in the endless forms and colors offered by those places where ocean, sky, and land meet.”
Clad in a Mexican peasant outfit, the young woman confidently sits astride a horse rearing on its two back legs while a black and white cow observes nearby.
Barely visible in the background are the words “Hi,” “Aloha,” “Ola,” “Howdy” and “Haku.”
The title of the enigmatic oil painting is “Greetings from California, 2020,” and it is part of artist Holli Harmon’s first solo exhibition, “Califia,” on view through Sept. 21 at Sullivan Goss-An American Gallery on East Anapamu Street.
Strong female figures are integral to the works of portrait and landscape artist Holli Harmon, whose latest muse is a mythical warrior queen, Califia, aka “the Spirit of California.”
“Somehow, Califia was in my subconscious,” the local painter told the Sun, while discussing her art featured in a new exhibition, the Califia Series, at Sullivan Goss Gallery in Santa Barbara (through Monday, Sept. 21).
The Wildling Museum of Art and Nature is pleased to welcome artist Holli Harmon for the next installment of the museum’s digital presentation series on Wednesday, August 19, 2020at 4 p.m. via Zoom. Harmon previously exhibited at the Wildling Museum as part of The River’s Journey in 2018. On July 31st, she opens a new exhibition at Santa Barbara’s Sullivan Goss Gallery featuring her most recent body of work, Califia, referencing the mythical female warrior who became the state of California’s namesake.