Carousel Horses: A Girl’s Favorite Dream is a room transformed. Artist Fran Holt's project is to create an immersive environment, a carnival of visuals, using large painted panels of carousel horses. The room will have so many large paintings on its walls that the walls won’t exist. It is a show about a young girl’s fantasy of carousel horses. The fantasies are painted in saturated, oil colors on large panels, 84” x 48”, sometimes forming triptychs up to 7’ x 12’. There are so many painted panels of lively carousel horses, doing lively activities in their flamboyant carousel trappings, that one cannot move, the images of horses crowding the gallery space with action poses and interesting pursuits. The panels depict animated, happy carousel horses, freed from their poles, playfully enjoying life, snorkeling with hippocampi and flying over the moon. Bright colors bounce off the panels and reflect into the air. In between some of the painted panels, little-girl shelves are filled with toy horses, horse calendars, crayons and pages of girlish drawings. There are bales of hay to sit on, and to smell. The show has been specifically tailored to Kirkland Art Center’s Turret Room, an enchanting, fantasy space of historical detail and architecture.
Art can be fun. It can be friendly, and can make you feel good. This show is a push-back against the dismembered, fractured quality of contemporary angst, and encourages happy participation in a go-for-it, over-the-top art experience.
This project was supported, in part, by an award from 4Culture, and by a grant from the Allied Arts Foundation.
Born and raised in Maryland, Fran Holt earned her B.F.A., summa cum laude, in painting from the Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland in1986; and her M.F.A. in painting from the University of Texas at Austin in 1989. She headed west that fall, finding vibrant support and a cultivated population in Seattle, arriving just as grunge and the dot-com era began. Her paintings, drawings and prints have been widely exhibited; the carousel horse series especially well-received. She is the recipient of several awards, including Allied Arts Foundation and two Individual Artist Projects grants from 4Culture. Her work is in the collection of the City of Seattle, City of Kent, Snohomish County public art collection, as well as numerous private collections. www.FranHolt.com